LAs dealing with construction sites find that there is a greater need than ever to recycle building waste as close as possible to where the aggregate was originally created, due to the increasing severity of regulations, reports Marcus Clay.

According to Marcus Clay, MD of Digbits, a company which manufactures attachments for site equipment, such as crushers and buckets, more should be done about recycling today's site waste.

“The proximity principle is promoted in the EU Waste Framework Directive (WDF, directive 2006/12/EC on waste). The Proximity Principle states that waste should be managed as close as practicable to the point at which it is generated. In terms of building site rubble such as waste concrete, brick or stone arising from demolition or alteration of existing structures 'recycling is the only obvious option,” he explains.

Recycling rubble in order to create reuseable aggregates from the waste is, in the opinion of many LAs or DSOs 'when speaking of larger sites ' something which needs to be undertaken where the waste arises or on the urban fringes close to both the point of creation of the waste and the demand for materials.

Talking rubbish

Marcus explains that planning departments are now changing recycling patterns by preventing rubble leaving smaller sites.

“Many local councils are using planning conditions as a convenient means of clamping down on the problems caused by grab loaders and skip lorries, particularly on small domestic sites. The combined issues of noise, congestion, and damage to roads and pavements have provided an additional spur to the implementation of new on-site recycling regulations,” he comments.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is also putting together a proposal about how all waste materials should be managed on construction sites. On 3rd April this year it published the following news release: “DEFRA has published proposals for reducing the 109 million tonnes of waste produced by the UK's construction industry every year.

“Around 13% of all the solid materials delivered to construction sites goes unused, and up to one third ends up in landfill. Around a third of all fly-tipping , includes waste from the construction, demolition and excavation sectors.”

Defra proposes to make unified site waste management a legal requirement for all projects in England worth over £250,000.

The organisation suggests that the during whole on-site waste management process every step would be recorded, including the legitimate disposal of materials that cannot be reused or recycled.

Not only is the audit trail is meant to reduce the potential for flytipping, it would also increase the accountability of contractors. For projects over £500,000 an even higher level reporting and review processes would apply.

Additionally, the EU fines payable by the UK government, which are currently passed down to local councils, amount to £40m per year for those who fail to hit landfill reduction targets by 2010. These fines will increase drastically to £205m in 2013, as the targets are currently increasing in severity.

Crushing with Alligators

“It doesn't require great imagination to see where the future lies for buildingsite rubble. Key principles dictate a reduction in our reliance on removal of waste from construction sites ' wherever possible ' and a reduction in waste reaching landfill or centralised processing facilities. The question is quite how far (and fast) the changes go. Could we see a time where rubble is no more acceptable in skips/tipper trucks than asbestos is today?” asks Marcus.

Smaller machines can recycle on smaller sites and help to fulfil many of DEFRA's requirements and local councils as regards their targets for waste management.

“We have has been at the forefront of compact concrete and rubble recycling since the introduction of our BAV product range in 1999 and anticipated the current growth in this sector. Now, with both excavator mounted and self-propelled tracked crushers, the company offers a comprehensive range of on site processing capabilities,” he comments.

Digbit's BAVTRAK Alligator crushers can be mounted on excavators from 0.5 tonne up to 28 tonnes. In general they are used to process concrete rubble at building sites.

He explains that Digbit crushers can be used to demolish large structures. They also allow the user to cut reinforcing wires. The remaining concrete is reduced to a size that is suitable for reusing or feeding through a crushing plant, which eliminates the need for manual handling or processing.

The company also manufacturers BAVTRAK tracked crushers ideal for even the smallest of sites ' produce variable grades of re-useable hardcore from site rubble. “This machine will help the user to safely recycle rubble on small sites, because it is only 720mm wide and only has a weight of 900kg. It can process materials that are non-homogenous, general rubble, brick, concrete, stone up to 1.5 tonnes an hour,” concludes Marcus.