The representatives of the RECONMATIC project attended the 25th annual RECYCLING conference in the Czech Republic on 13-14 October 2022. This year, the topic of the conference was "Circular economy in construction, recycling and use of secondary building materials".
The conference is organized by the Association for Recycling of Construction Materials (ARSM), which brings together a number of entities that are dedicated to the topics of construction and demolition waste (CDW) processing, recycling and developing opportunities for more efficient reuse of secondary raw materials. A significant number of recycling and construction companies, manufacturers of shredding and sorting equipment, as well as representatives of academia are members of the Association. Traditionally, conference participants include representatives of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Czech Environmental Inspectorate and the State Institute of Health. These are key state institutions that have a strong voice in the development and enforcement of rules affecting the management of CDW.
During the conference, which was attended by more than 200 representatives of the industry, the public administration and academia, 20 technical papers were presented, focusing on various areas of recycling of CDW and other industrial by-products used in the construction sector, such as slags and fly ash. Among the interesting contributions, the following topics can be highlighted:
New findings in the area of more efficient use of waste soils in combination with other secondary materials, especially in transport construction
New findings with finely ground brick waste as an active substitute for cement in concrete
Provided insights from ongoing research and development on the design of highly durable concrete with elevated proportions of secondary raw materials
Recent results in the development of recycling solutions for plasterboard, including targets focusing on the recalcination of waste gypsum
The overall solution proposed by the RECONMATIC project addresses directly the focus and themes of the conference and ARSM´s mission. Therefore, the RECONMATIC project agenda was presented, in the opening session of the conference, by the project coordinator Prof. Jan Valentin, and the participants were introduced to the objectives and expected outputs that RECONMATIC has set out. During the discussion on the presentation, the perspective of integrating CDW considerations into the digital building (BIM) processes emerged as one of the main challenges. This was considered by several participants as a very important step. The presentation of the RECONMATIC project at the conference, followed by interest from representatives of Pražské služby a.s. (“Prague services”, a municipal company responsible for the overall waste management in Prague), who are currently preparing a central recycling centre for the city of Prague and found the possibility of cooperating with the RECONMATIC consortium interesting.
The RECYCLING conference also included the traditional roundtable with representatives of public administration, i.e., with the above-mentioned ministries and representatives of public health protection. The current Waste Management Ordinance (Decree) was discussed, as well as the preparation of implementing the ordinances for the efficient management, recycling and reuse of waste soils, site-won asphalt material and recycled concrete and masonry materials. Key areas, here, include discussions on the modification or addition of environmental criteria that either allow the use of secondary raw materials to be classified as a by-product or, conversely, define the conditions for the end of waste status. As of 2019, there is already a pilot decree dedicated to the so-called site-won asphalt pavement material in this regard. Following the official program, a separate meeting was held between representatives of the two ministries, the chairman of the ARSM and the national coordinator for CDW at the National Institute of Health, together with Jan Valentin, representing the Czech Technical University. During this meeting, the next working steps for the preparation of these implementing decrees were discussed in more detail.