NFDC Waste Figures Highlight Recycling Challenge

The 2007 waste return figures from the National Federation of Demolition Contractors have just been issued; and they serve to highlight a growing challenge in the recycling of composite materials.

The National Federation of Demolition Contractors, the voice of the UK demolition industry, has issued its latest waste return figures which show that more than 90 percent of all site arisings were recycled or reused by the Federation's 165+ corporate members.

According to the figures, NFDC members generated 23,497,864 tonnes of arisings during 2007.   Of these, 1,035,833 were classified as hazardous waste and were processed accordingly.   A further 1,998,070 was sent to landfill as an unusable waste.

Marked Increase
The figures mark a reduction in the quantity of waste arisings produced, down approximately 2.7 million tonnes on the previous year.   More significantly, the figures show a marked increase in the quantities of hazardous materials processed (up from just under 800,000 tonnes in 2006) and the level of materials sent to landfill (up from 1.3 million tonnes in 2006).

"At the beginning of 2007, a number of materials were reclassified as hazardous waste, which explains the sharp increase in the hazardous waste figures," says NFDC chief executive Howard Button.   "Of far more concern, however, is the rise in the quantity of materials being sent to landfill."

Button believes that as NFDC members are increasingly required to work on structures erected in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the more likely they are to encounter composite materials that simply cannot be recycled.

End of Life Directive
Button advocates an end of life building directive, similar to that imposed upon the automotive industry to ensure that cars and other motor vehicles are recyclable at the end of their working life, and that they contain the lowest possible levels of hazardous materials and heavy metals.

"More modern buildings and structures use more modern materials, many of them composites which simply cannot be economically reused or recycled," he asserts.   "Architects and construction companies need to take responsibility and realise that, at some point in the future, a demolition contractor will be forced to try to deal with materials that are hazardous or which will simply wind up in a landfill site."

Further information from Mr Howard Button, Chief Executive, NFDC.   Tel: 01784 456799