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The EQAR Congress 2011 shows need for action

World Cement,

On 26 – 27 May 2011 the European Quality Association (EQAR) held a congress on the subject ‘Recycling of Building Materials in Europe’. In the presence of numerous participants from many EU member states Manfred Wierichs, President of EQAR, demand that more intensified efforts for reaching more efficiency of resources in the field of mineral building materials.

Jo Leinen, Chairman of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament underlined that climate protection, efficiency of resources and recycling range among the priority targets of the European Union. Reuse and recycling are the key to efficiency of resources. In view of the quantities of waste, Leinen pointed to the importance of recycling of building materials to reach the EU targets.

The representatives of the EU Commission also underlined the importance of recycling building materials to avoid waste, to protect natural resources and to preserve the land. The EU Commission estimates that so far only 50% of the 300 – 700 million tpa of mineral construction and demolition waste produced throughout Europe are recycled. It is the target of the EU to achieve a recycling rate of at least 70% for building and demolition waste.

In the view of the EU Commission, market incentive systems such as a dumping tax could be useful to promote recycling and to increase the recycling rate. In addition, the EU Commission thinks customers should be obliged to use recycled building materials if they are technologically suited and ecologically compatible.

The presentations given by various EU member states at the conference showed that the level of mineral recycling varies widely in the individual member states. Nevertheless, it is still essential to combine efforts to reach the target set by the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) and to recycle at least 70% of mineral waste – currently some member states are recycling less than 20% of mineral waste. Evaluation of the implementation of the Waste Framework Directive by the EU Commission will continue to 2014.

Further presentations examined the state of European standardization for recycled building materials and the responsibility of the building product industry. The EU Commission created a framework for uniform product standards defining the technological properties of primary as well as of recycled building materials. EU standards for considering ecologically relevant materials of content are also being prepared.

The complete congress materials will be soon available on the EQAR homepage under

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