- The volume of construction waste generated worldwide every day, according to a report from Transparency Market Research, will nearly double to 2.2. billion tons by the year 2025, according to Construction & Demolition Recycling.
- Construction waste, as classified in the report, includes materials from excavation, roadwork and demolition, as well as complex waste like plastics, metal, ceramic and cardboard. Making up more than half of the construction waste generated annually are building materials including wood, shingles, asphalt, concrete and gypsum.
- According to the study, "reduce, reuse and recycle" policies are necessary to control the amount of construction waste, but insufficient resources, lack of standardization, slim profit margins, policy apathy and lack of education on the issues are keeping that from happening. The Asia Pacific region is expected to generate a majority of the construction waste in the year to come, followed by North America. Europe, according to the report, has developed the best construction waste management technologies.
The disposal of construction waste is often a safety issue. In December 2015, a pile of construction debris caused a landslide in Shenzhen, China that killed more than 70 and left 900 individuals displaced. The slide also demolished a host of buildings, including 33 factories, workers' living quarters and apartments.
Because of the construction boom in the area, the Chinese government had set up more than 10 dump sites for the resulting debris, but, reportedly, at this location, the pile of excavated dirt and material waste was too high and became unstable. Some analysts, according to The New York Times, blamed the landslide on China's building boom and the unwillingness on the part of local officials to enforce regulations regarding the disposal of construction debris.
In the U.S., officials in Texas are struggling with how to handle the waste created by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area last year. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has said the area will take years to clean up, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has waived some solid waste disposal regulations — air quality, emissions, wastewater and hazardous waste storage — in order to hasten the process.
In Minnesota, construction debris is impacting groundwater, according to the Bristol Herald Courier. Because construction waste in landfills isn't included in the state's solid waste rules, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is pushing for tougher standards for demolition landfills that provide no barrier between deposited materials and groundwater. However, county officials across the state are pushing back against proposals to tighten regulations until the agency can pinpoint what exactly is contaminating groundwater.