The construction industry is the greatest consumer of mineral and other non-renewable resources in the EU. In 2018, the industry generated 35.7% of the total waste in the European Union (in the UK, this was a staggering 48.8%, Eurostat, 2020), most of which was produced during the construction and demolition stages. Despite the number of initiatives to tackle the issue of C&D waste, landfilling is still prevalent.
There are two broad reasons for the current unsatisfactory situation regarding CDW: low rates of recovery in some EU countries and the low value of reused or recycled materials/products. The end customers generally lack confidence in the quality parameters and reliability of recycled CDW due to improper sorting and contamination and low control over the material quality and homogeneity. Firstly, the volume of materials entering the CDW stream has to be minimized and, secondly, CDW has to be treated accordingly and controlled better to provide materials for reuse of high-value products, with traceability and quality assurance.
The solutions that enable achieving these goals shall be easily adoptable by all stakeholders involved in the processes of CDW generation and management to reach the expected future EU target of high CDW recovery (to be set by the European Commission in 2024 or beyond) and, most importantly, the status of zero CDW by 2050. This is the ambition of the RECONMATIC project, entirely in line with EU Waste Framework Directives (European Commission, 2019) and the Circular Economy Action Plan (European Union, 2020).
RECONMATIC will deliver 6 demonstration case studies, to be carried out in 5 different European countries, that will each pilot technologies on building and infrastructure projects covering different stages of the project lifecycle as well as at recycling plants or centers. Each demonstrators will be assessed by a sustainability and circularity assessment tool to provide additional verification and proof of implementation capability in real market conditions.
Czech Republic (2 Demos)
The principal mission of RECONMATIC is to embed life-cycle C&D waste management as an integral part of processes related to the planning/design, construction, operation, repurposing and deconstruction of built structures, providing new automation and digitalisation tools or solutions to facilitate improved communication and information sharing between the various actors, enabling them to proactively prevent and minimize waste generation or help to guide and improve decision-making in the reuse or recycling of materials. We believe that identification, structuring and use of the right kind of information addressing particular actors of the built structures life-cycle will be the key to reaching high valorization in reuse and recycling of waste materials as well as to reaching the overall target: for the construction sector to be a zero-waste industry by 2050.
In the area of C&D waste management itself, RECONMATIC aims to introduce appropriate solutions to achieve cleaner material streams in the sorting of C&D waste, while at the same time identifying recommendations and appropriate automation steps to further improve the logistics and organisation of C&D waste processing. The aim is to increase the reuse and recycling levels of C&D waste, focusing on technical solutions with higher waste valorisation, and to contribute to the prevention or reduction of waste generation through efficient management of construction processes.
To develop, test and promote digital tools for material and/or component tracing and C&D waste management in different types of construction or demolition sites (using existing databases for waste management)
To develop automated solutions for de-construction and waste separation processes
To implement cross-sectorial holistic solutions involving glass, concrete, steel, ceramics, non-ferrous materials, etc. from the perspective of construction products and materials as well as waste management, transportation and construction equipment and machinery aspects
To demonstrate solutions (reuse, recycling, transformation, etc.) in at least four implementation sites across different European countries in the areas of material recovery, transformation and utilisation
To assess and evaluate the value of the solutions in economic, business, environmental and societal terms (e.g., monetary value/reduction of CO₂ emissions produced)
To develop learning resources and contribute to relevant standards, policies & best practice
The RECONMATIC project will involve policy analysis and stakeholder engagement through qualitative research including workshops, webinars and interviews, in order to establish a protocol for assessing the sustainability and circularity of automated solutions for C&D waste management and guiding decision-making in a systematic way.
The project will also define, among future users and stakeholders, the features and criteria needed to complement the decision-making tool developed in the project with a circularity and sustainability approach. In this sense, RECONMATIC will identify the gaps and opportunities related to sustainability aspects and circular economy, as well as demands in terms of methodology, operation and expected results of a suitable guidance tool.
For this purpose, three interviews and two thematic workshops (in the participating countries and internationally) will be conducted with stakeholders of the value chain; designers/architects, construction companies, manufacturers and suppliers of materials and products, asset managers/ building owners, waste managers, recycling companies and decontamination companies as well as demolition companies will be invited to participate.
If you are interested in participating, please contact us.
The RECONMATIC project will produce online education materials on the innovations developed, for both current construction sector staff and UG/PG students at tertiary level. The materials will be based on the new approaches and conclusions of the results of use cases studied within the project and aim to transfer the knowledge acquired. All the materials will be available in English and Chinese, on this webpage.
More specifically, an interactive guidance tool and related e-Learning resources and training program will be created to support start-ups to implement, evaluate and improve sustainability and circularity in their business models. Other training materials and practical tools will be developed, focusing on the competences necessary to generate product-service-systems based on the Circular Economy (CE) model, especially for the construction sector. The sustainability assessment tools to be developed within RECONMATIC project will be used in the corresponding training activities.
Convinced that training of the next generation of construction and waste professionals in using new technologies will strengthen the zero-waste system, the RECONMATIC construction partners will experience the use of RECONMATIC tools first-hand as part of the demonstrators and they will act as torch bearers to pass the light to their colleagues. Two training courses (seminars) based on these training materials will be organized in each partner country, focused on different stakeholders at different levels (for example professional chambers or hubs: of architects, authorized technics; association of construction companies, waste managers etc.) and more than 1,000 stakeholders are expected to be trained.
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