The Environmental Protection Agency has issued its first licence to process large volumes of Irish construction and demolition waste. Issued to Panda waste management company, the licence will facilitate its reuse as a product in road construction.

Almost zero construction and demolition waste is recycled in Ireland. In 2008, the EU set a target for 70% of construction waste to be recycled by 2020 and such materials are widely used for a range of construction-related applications in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, and Latvia; all of which recycle more than 90% of such material, according to an article in The Irish Times. Recycled aggregate such as sand, gravel, crushed stone, slag, and recycled concrete makes up almost one third of the aggregates used in new-build housing in the UK.

Panda, part of the Beauparc group, collects approximately 100,000 tonnes of this waste stream annually, comprised mainly of crushed concrete, but also containing ceramic, tiles, bricks and stone. Its licence will allow the processing of this material by crushing, screening, removal and separation to produce a reusable material known as “greenrock” which will be used in the construction of a new road on an EPA-licensed site in Ireland.

David Tobin, Beauparc’s renewable energy and sustainability director, said it was a significant first step in reuse of this material in Ireland and would help towards meet Irish and EU targets for transitioning to a circular economy. “We are committed to delivering on the circular economy goal of recycling resources and materials and returning them back to the economy to be used again. This is crucial if we, as a society, want to meet the UN’s sustainable development goals,” he added.

The creation of new products from construction and demolition waste not only diverts materials from landfill, but “also reduces the extraction of finite aggregates resources from quarries, thereby reducing the impact on the environment”, Mr Tobin said.

Denise Maguire   Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine

Email: denise@mcdmedia.ie