Construction waste is the largest waste stream generated in Ireland, according to the EPA’s Construction and Demolition Waste Statistics report published in August.
The C&D sector in Ireland generated an estimated 9 million tonnes of waste in 2021. This represents an increase of nearly 0.8 million tonnes (10% increase) on the 8.2 million tonnes in 2020 and is close to the 8.8 million tonnes of C&D waste generated in 2019.
Figure 1 illustrates that the annual quantity of C&D waste generated in Ireland increased considerably from 2014 to 2019, corresponding with a steady increase in the level of construction activity nationally1 represented by the Production in Building and Construction Index (PBCI).
Despite COVID enforced restrictions on the construction sector in 2021 C&D waste increased to 9 million tonnes while the PBCI decreased between 2020 and 2021. This divergence stems from lower value construction activities, such as the excavation of soil and stone, recommencing earlier post Covid restrictions, compared to higher value activities.
- The quantity of Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste generated and collected in Ireland in 2021 increased to 9 million tonnes from 8.2 million tonnes in 2020 an increase of 10%.
- The overall composition of C&D waste changed little between 2020 and 2021. At 85%, soil and stone waste remained dominant, followed by waste concrete, brick, tile and gypsum (7%) and mixed C&D waste (4%). The proportion of segregated (wood, paper, glass, plastic and metal) C&D waste collected remained small at just under 4% increasing from 3.1% in 2020.
- The vast majority (96 %) of C&D waste underwent final treatment in Ireland in 2021; only 4% was exported abroad for final treatment.
- Most C&D waste was backfilled (85%), with only 8% and 7% was recycled and sent for disposal, respectively. The dominance of backfilling as a treatment operation reflects the large proportion of soil and stones in C&D waste.
- Recycling was the main treatment operation for metals (100%), for segregated wood, paper, glass and plastic (77 %).
- For non-hazardous C&D waste other than soil and stone, Ireland achieved 85% material recovery, surpassing the 70% European target.
Greater levels of C&D waste prevention can be achieved by employing best practice circular construction activities. This includes designing out waste, increase application of By-products Regulation 27 and maximising the use of resources specified for projects in line with the EPA’s revised Best Practice Guidelines for the Preparation of Resource Management Plans for Construction & Demolition Projects.
Verde Environmental Consultants provide the following environmental services to development / construction projects:
- Construction and Environmental Management Plans (CEMPs)
- Construction Waste Management Plans (CWMPs)
- Soil Waste Classification
- Environmental Due Diligence Reporting
- Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments
- Environmental Impact Assessmentand Appropriate Assessment Reporting(NIS)/Screening
- Contaminated Land Remediation and Management
- Ecological Assessment
- Groundwater remediation design, installation and management
- Asbestos surveying and management plans
- Hydrogeological investigations including groundwater quality and yield assessment
- Discharge Licence Applications
- Dewatering – Design, Installation and Operation
- Environmental Air, Noise, Vibration, Dust Monitoring during construction projects