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There is very little information regarding the recycling/reuse of construction site wastes and, due to the lack of data, this category of waste appears to be incorporated into the figures for recycling/reuse of demolition waste.

Germany's Waste Avoidance and Waste Management Act covers the topic of reuse/recycling of building wastes stressing that:

  • reuse/recycling has priority over disposal
  • materials hampering or preventing reuse/recycling should be collected, kept and treated separately
  • reusable/recyclable portions should not be mixed or disposed together with non-reusable/non-recyclable portions
  • noxious wastes from construction should be treated separately (DoE/ECOTEC, 1993).

By imposing regulations, Denmark has been able to start establishing databases on construction waste arisings and recycling/reuse routes. Table 6.3 indicates the waste materials available for reuse in construction activities in Denmark and the extent to which reuse is currently practised there.

Table 6.3 : The production and reuse of waste materials in construction, Denmark 1990

Material

Source

Production '000 tonnes

%of Production

Steel slag

Elcctric Furnaces

65

65

100

Fly ash

Power Plants

990

616

62

Incinerator residues

Incinerator plants

415

250

60

Asphalt

Construction

357

357

100

Broken Concrete) Bricks ( Road Concrete J

Building and Construction

3670

1000

27

All Waste Materials

5497

2288

42

Source : Denmark Ministry of Transport : Road Directorate (DoE/ECOTEC, 1993)

Source : Denmark Ministry of Transport : Road Directorate (DoE/ECOTEC, 1993)

Highway/road construction in the USA

Highway construction is one of the major markets for recycled or recovered materials. Virtually every US state transportation agency has had some experience with utilising wastes or by-products in its highway construction programme.

The most frequently used wastes or by-products in highways are reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), coal fly ash, iron and steel slags, reclaimed or broken concrete, scrap tyres, and mining wastes. Other wastes or by-products that have also been used to a lesser extent include kiln dusts, demolition debris, foundry sands, waste glass, incinerator ash, and compost. At least 42 states are now utilising RAP as aggregate in some form of construction. The most common application is the use of RAP for up to 30 percent of the aggregate in new or recycled asphalt paving mixes. In some states, RAP is also used as an unbound aggregate base course. Fly ash is also being used in 42 different states, mainly as a partial replacement for portland cement in concrete, but also for embankments, flowable backfills, soil and base stabilisation, and as mineral filler in asphalt paving (Bergeson, 1992). Table A.6.3 in the Appendix shows the use of waste materials and by-products as indicated from questionnaire responses by US State Departments of Transportation.

Recycling of asphalt road planings

The recycling and reuse of asphalt is an area in which the Germans have made much progress. The repair, maintenance and reconstruction of German highways generates approximately 10 million tonnes of asphalt road planings each year. This compares to 50 million tonnes of annual asphalt output. The Federal Waste Law requires that all reusable or recyclable constituents of arisings are separated and, by the end of 1991, that 90% of all arisings were to be reused.

Recycled road planings are increasingly being used in new highway construction. The regional authorities (Länder) set the technical standards which stipulate the maximum proportion of planings permitted in new construction. German experience suggests that the technical performance of recycled asphalt planings is high, and therefore is not a constraint on use. Much of the recycling undertaken in Germany is the result of legislation rather than commercial self-interest.

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