The construction sector is a major consumer of resources and the leading source of solid waste globally, 40%¹ of waste is generated from the construction, renovation, and demolition stages. Construction and demolition materials form a significant waste stream. Hence, the demolition of existing buildings and disposal of debris is not an efficient method.
Promoting waste sorting and recycling at construction sites can have a significant role in reducing this type of waste. The structure of a building should be considered a storehouse of materials at the end-of-life phase. Accordingly, it is better to favour deconstruction over demolition to ensure that materials can be reused or recycled.
The main goal of this model is to collect building components at the end-life stage to recycle them in order to produce new construction products. It is also recommended to make sure that the decisions taken during the design stage of the building include a plan to reuse the waste collected at the end of life. Another important factor to consider is raw materials' traceability to obtain complete information about their harmful constituents (if there are any) and to be able to properly reuse or recycle them.
How do we act?
Saint-Gobain Glass Recycling
In some countries like France or Sweden, we have created – or in progress to create - Saint-Gobain Glass Recycling, a network of partners for the collection of cullet by identifying businesses committed to collecting, dismantling and closed-loop recycling of end-of-life glass. Our partners organize the sorting and separation of different types of glazing by following specific processes. The recycled glass generated at our partners’ sites is used afterwards in the manufacturing of new glass production at our float lines.
¹ Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, Global Status Reports 2017