Circular Economy: EBC puts forward proposals for improved CDW management

During the summer, the European Commission ran an open public consultation on the revision of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD). The WFD provides the general framework for many waste streams, including construction and demolition waste (CDW).

With the previous extensive revision taking place just a few years ago (concluded in 2018), the Commission now wishes to align the Directive with the goals of the European Green Deal. It notably wishes to improve waste management by reducing waste generation, including through the re-use of products or components, and by reducing mixed waste and increasing for the readiness to re-use or recycle waste by improving separate collection.

EBC has been a fervent advocate of making the construction sector more sustainable, abiding for realistic ambitions to concretely improve its environmental footprint. EBC supports the hierarchy enshrined in the WFD, which gives priority to prevention, reuse, recycling, and other types of recovery over disposal and landfill for all types of waste. This is also the case for construction and demolition waste.

In that context EBC responded to the public consultation, focusing its response on improvements to the current framework based, inter alia, on the following recommendations:

Proximity principle for waste disposal: the availability of construction and demolition waste collection centres at a maximum of 20 km or 30 minutes transport time from the nearest settlement, with complementary facilities to the collection points, is a crucial need for SMEs.

Alignment with standards for circular construction: all provisions on reuse of construction products and secondary raw materials should be aligned with the revised CPR.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): EPR requirements should be proportionate; the existing virtuous models of waste management set up by the craft companies of the building sector should be well considered in any new EPR set up.

Preparing for Re-use and Recycling: To ensure efficiency and stability for the market, the existing framework should be maintained; indeed, several Member States are still in the process of creating or implementing the last revision of the Directive.

Supporting pioneering companies & promoting the sharing of best practices: An online platform available in all official EU languages where best-practice examples on deconstruction, renovation and construction waste recovery activities are explained and shared would be helpful, even more so if coupled with funding for awareness-raising and training programmes on deconstruction works and waste prevention activities in the buildings sector.

Guarantee accurate and dependable CDW data across the EU: The Commission should issue Guidelines for a harmonised CDW data collection methodology, to ensure further reliability and comparability across the EU and mandate Member States to closely monitor CDW data collection to ensure data accuracy.

The public consultation remained open until 24 August 2022, with 731 stakeholders responding to its questionnaire. The Commission is currently working on an impact assessment, set to be finalised by the end of 2022.

A legislative proposal is expected in the second quarter of 2023. EBC will closely monitor the process as this is a major topic for the ambitions regarding the sustainability of the construction sector.

To access the current Waste Faremwork Directive, click here