Construction & Demolition Waste Statistics for Ireland

EPA Waste Data Release, 22 March 2018

Latest Reference Year 2014

In 2014, 3,314 ktonnes of construction & demolition waste were finally treated (recovered or disposed). Soil & stones accounted for 74 per cent of the total quantity. Mineral waste (concrete, bricks, gypsum) accounted for 12 per cent of the total quantity.

Under the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) there is a target for Member States to achieve 70 per cent material recovery of non-hazardous, non-soil & stones C&D wastes by 2020. Ireland achieved 68 per cent recovery in 2014 (see Progress to Targets). The Waste Framework Directive target only applies to a portion of all C&D wastes generated, as hazardous wastes and soil & stones wastes are excluded from the calculation.

C&D waste material streams in reference to total (%), 2014

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Open in Excel: Table 1 Material categories of C&D waste treated, 2014 (XLS 10KB)

Legislative changes

Article 27 of the European Communities (Waste Directive) Regulations, 2011 allows an economic operator to decide, under certain circumstances, that a material is a by-product and not a waste. Decisions made by economic operators under article 27 must be notified to the EPA. The EPA is entitled to decide that a notified by-product should in fact be considered as waste and is obliged to consult with the economic operator and the relevant local authority before making such a decision.

In 2014, there were 54 by-product notifications for C&D type materials received by the EPA. In seven cases, the EPA decision was that these were wastes and not by-products. In nine cases, the notifications were accepted and the remaining notifications are decision pending. As the economic operator had decided that these C&D materials were by-products and not wastes, most likely these materials would not have been transported as waste or been accepted at a waste authorised facility. This means that the tonnages involved are not included in waste management data.

Final treatment of C&D waste

Final treatment operations (recycling, backfilling, use as a fuel, disposal) varied greatly between material streams. By far the biggest amount of C&D waste was used for backfilling (a recovery operation), which mainly reflects the dominance of soil & stones. Recycling was the dominant treatment activity for materials separated for that purpose (e.g. C&D waste glass). Residues from sorting (e.g. fines) were used as landfill cover (backfilling) and difficult wastes that could not be recovered were disposed (e.g. residues from sorting of waste, C&D waste containing asbestos or PCBs).

Having adequate authorised treatment capacity for C&D waste is vital to avoid unauthorised C&D waste disposal. The Waste Management Planning Regions have highlighted a lack of treatment capacity for soil & stones. Soil & stones accounted for 75 per cent of the total quantity of C&D waste finally treated in 2014 and is a significant waste stream in terms of quantity arising.

The quantity of contaminated soil (hazardous waste) has increased due to increasing construction. See Hazardous Waste section for more information.

Final treatment for C&D waste material classes, in reference to total for each material class, 2014

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Open in Excel: Table 2 Final treatment operations of C&D wastes, 2014 (XLS 9KB)

C&D Waste Management Protocol

C&D produces the largest volume of waste in the EU. In November 2017, the European Commission published non-binding guidelines for the construction industry as part of the Circular Economy Package – the EU C&D Waste Management Protocol. The aim of any C&D project should be to prevent waste arising but where waste does arise that it must be appropriately segregated, collected and transferred to an authorised waste management facility. Many C&D wastes are suitable for recycling, once they are properly segregated at source