DEA developing regulatory mechanisms governing quality of secondary materials in construction
02 June 2017
Posted by: SAFCEC Communications
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), with selected partners, are developing regulatory mechanisms to govern the quality of secondary materials in the construction industry and to divert clean builder’s rubble from landfill sites for reuse in order to that the availability of virgin resources and service life of landfills is extended.
The African Construction Expo held in May 2017, saw Greencape convening the first meeting with construction industry bodies and role players that included SAFCEC, CESA, the cidb and MBASA. Other participants included the DEA and crushing industry representatives.
The DEA published the draft National Norms and Standards for the Sorting, Shredding, Grinding, Crushing, Screening or Bailing of General Waste in terms of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act. on the 17 March 2017 (Government Gazette Vol. 621, No. 40698) and all industry role players were afforded 60 days to submit their comments. The comments closed on the 17 May 2017.
Secondary Materials: Reusing Clean Construction Waste & Reducing the Impact on Virgin Material Sources
Due to the rising cost of virgin material prices and logistics , there is rapid market growth in builders' rubble in both the Western Cape and Gauteng. Given that energy costs are set to rise, and that builders' rubble will increasingly be tracked and legislated to be diverted from landfill, market expectations are set to thrive.
What are Secondary Materials?
Secondary materials are sometimes called ‘wastes’ and can be considered incorrectly termed, as waste is something to which we ascribe no value. Construction & Demolition ‘Waste’ (C&DW) requires energy at extraction and production and the establishment of distribution networks, which begs the question as to whether any inherent value can be placed on secondary materials and if so, whether this usage is economically viable.
Secondary Materials vs Virgin Materials
Materials should be used appropriately, i.e. according to their properties. This is especially true with secondary materials because they do not come neatly packaged and generally come with 'baggage'. They have a history of handling and mishandling and a lack of information on the consistency in supply and quality of the material.
This does not necessarily mean virgin materials trump secondary materials, as in some instances, virgin materials are not always readily available and come with an increase in logistics costs when there is a need to transport virgin materials to project sites. The inherent qualities that exist within secondary properties (such as self-cementing) can actually improve performance of secondary materials.