Recycling specialist welcomes circular economy support

By Steve Ducker20 June 2022

The founder and owner of a leading recycling consultancy has welcomed the European Commission’s support for the efforts of the European Demolition Association (EDA) in promoting the circular economy.

Johan D'Hooghe web index Johan D'Hooghe. (Photo: D&Ri magazine)

Johan D’Hooghe from Belgium-based Recycling Assistance, writing on his company website, made the observation after the recent EDA Convention in the French capital, Paris.

The conference programme at the event included a presentation from Fulvia Raffaelli from DG Grow – the commission’s directorate-general for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises).

“DG Grow fully supports the EDA and the members in their efforts on circular economy. Ms Raffaelli’s presentation made very clear that the European Commission and EDA are sharing the same vision on our industry.”

On the wider question of demolition and the circular economy, Johan added: “Demolition is still too often considered as something bad, just to destroy buildings. This is not true at all. Demolition is the only industry that can decontaminate hazardous substances, recycle space and adapt the existing buildings to meet the future requirements.

“By doing this, the demolition and recycling industry has proved to be a reliable and capable partner in the circular construction industry. However, circularity doesn’t stop after recycling. Materials from demolition jobs have to be reused in the construction of new buildings and infrastructure in the most sustainable way. There are already many examples and techniques showing us that a circular construction industry is not an impossible dream.

“At the moment, only 10% of the volume of construction materials used in new projects is being replaced by (recycled) C&D (construction and demolition) waste. This means that even when all the C&D waste is recycled or reused, today, we still need 90% virgin materials to meet the demand in the construction industry. So, in this situation, it is very difficult to speak about a circular industry.

“Due to legislation, we see that in some regions the rise in the total building volume is flattening. Here we will hopefully arrive at the situation in which the available volume of C&D waste will meet the required volume of building materials. And it is for this situation that we must be prepared with the circular construction industry.”

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