Page 38 - Hub-4 Magazine Issue 76
P. 38

     Earlier this year, a package of European Green Deal proposals were presented with a view to make sustainable products the norm within the EU internal market . The revised Construction Products Regulation (CPR) emphasises the value of construction to the EU, as a key employer and economic contributor. It does, however, also highlight the adverse impacts the sector has on the environment, as one generating some 30% of the EU’s annual waste and contributing significantly to its domestic carbon footprint and emissions.
Stimulate economic growth
The construction industry is a major economic driver; in the EU alone, 25 million people are employed across 5 million companies, according to data from the revised CPR . So, when the Covid-19 crisis gripped economies and construction output fell to some of its lowest ever levels, it was no surprise that robust recovery plans with clear focus on investments in infrastructure were announced by nations around the world to rebound and stimulate economic growth.
However, the cost of raw materials and their availability remained a deepening challenge for the sector.
Take, make, waste
Materials shortages and their rising costs are not entirely symptoms of the pandemic, but they have been exacerbated by it and have become more acute, CDE’s Business Development Manager for the DACH region, Christoph Baier, explains.
“Every day we continue to extract our fast-depleting natural resources to support rapid urbanisation and our modern, technological lifestyles. Essential to this is sand, the second most consumed natural resource after water and the most consumed solid material on earth.”
In April, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published 10 recommendations to avert the impending sand crisis . It referenced how the use of sand, gravel, crushed stone and aggregates has tripled in the last two decades, reaching an estimated 40-50 billion metric tons per year (UNEP 2019).
“This, in the context of projected increases in global populations and urban living,” Christoph continues, “demonstrates how demand will only rise, while resources will only deplete, unless we adopt long-term attitudinal, regulatory and technological change to ensure not only the sustainability of companies within the construction sector – and with it the livelihoods of those employed within it – but also the sustainability of the very planet.
“It’s clear the consequences of a linear take, make and waste economy are catching up to us.”
While Covid-19 economic recovery packages may help to stimulate growth, they must be conditional on building back greener, more sustainably, Christoph adds.
“We can set out ambitious plans to build and grow, but we must ask ourselves how sustainable this is without a new approach to how we extract and manage the lifecycle of finite natural resources.”
Rethinking construction waste
A circular approach is the only answer, Eunan corroborates.
“It can be the means to equip us with the resources needed to supply a sector charged with a key role in the economic recovery while addressing our collective environmental footprint by reducing waste-to-landfill volumes and extending the lifespan of precious natural materials. All the while continuing to supply a resource-intense sector with the materials it requires; materials often trucked out of our urban centres where they are needed most.”
He says the technology needed to extract recycled sand and aggregate resources from CD&E waste that are equivalent to their virgin quarried counterparts is already in operation throughout Europe.
Proven solutions“Many businesses are already on this pathway,” he says, “and we will welcome many of them to join our upcoming round table discussions at bauma to share insights with the industry as we work to demonstrate that we can pursue commercial opportunities in a sustainable way.”
 | p38 | Sept/October 22 - Issue 76

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