Ecologic solution

The country generates 84 million of construction debris per year. These materials could be used in several applications but there are no regulations to encourage their reuse.

Recycling is an irreversible way. Natural resources are limited and the know-how in reusing them is a civilized way of maintaining the planet and its bio-diversity, ensuring good quality of life for the next generations. In the construction business, this activity offers environmental, social and economic advantages, in saving ore extraction, vegetation removal and energy sources, and in stimulating economic activity with the use of the debris in base and sub-base of landfills, concrete products, paving and production of sealing blocks, among other applications.

Some years ago, researchers of the Institute of Chemistry from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) published the Overview of Construction and Demolition Waste Materials, a document that highlights the benefits that recycling may generate in civil construction, from the reduction in the consumption of raw materials and power inputs to the reduction of areas needed for landfill and increase in the useful life of operating equipment.

In fact, these advantages are attractive considering that civil construction is a large consumer of natural resources and uses industrial processes that may be harmful to the environment. According to Luiz Henrique Ferreira, director of Inovatech, constructive systems consume not less than 45 percent of the whole energy and 55 percent of all natural resources produced in the planet. When consuming on a large scale, a higher total is generated in the other end, if construction steps and demolitions are considered. “Debris generated in the demolition of a ten-thousand work will generate an economy of approximately R$ 91,000 if they are reused in the same place”, calculates Ferreira, explaining that “this is the principle of the so-called sustainable construction”.


For the president of the Associação Brasileira para Reciclagem de Resíduos da Construção Civil e Demolição (Abrecon), Hewerton Bartoli, all debris generated in a project may be recycled. Therefore it is essential to develop the Plan of Management of Civil Construction Debris (PGRCC) to ensure that project, environment, society and the entire economic chain involved are attended. “The management of construction and demolition (RCD) requires correct stocking system, competent staff to handle it, appropriate equipment, identification of transports and recipients, including areas for transshipment and selection, landfills and recycling plants duly licensed by public management and environmental organs”, adds the expert.

According to him, 50 to 70 percent of the RCD generated in a project are classified as class A (coming from masonry, concrete and soils). In addition, the resolution Conama 307/2002 defines debris from Class B (that includes recyclable items such as paper, plastic, lumber, glass and plaster), from Class C (non-recyclable) and from Class D (dangerous). Generally, bays are installed in the worksites to separate and classify each type of waste generated. The teams have to be trained to select, pack and transport properly these waste materials.

Conama’s resolution also has guidelines and procedures dealing with handling, transport and disposition of the RCD. “Based on these rules, civil construction chain is being organized to attend these requirements, a process that has to be adjusted”, explains the president of Abrecon. “The creation of the National Policy of Solid Waste (PNRS) in 2010 accelerated the creation of structures, improved municipal plans and lead to the creation of companies specialized in recycling.”


Some data show this situation. The Sectorial Research 2014/2015 carried by Abrecon showed that the industry of RCD recycling in Brazil includes 310 small and medium-sized plants. These companies billed approximately R$ 391 million in 2014. Approximately 64 percent of these plants billed up to R$ 100,000 per month.

According to Levi Torres, coordinator of Abrecon, Brazil generates currently 84 million of RCD. In 2014, the 310 plants located in the country recycled approximately 17 million The remaining waste went to sanitation landfills or had other destination. “The rated production capacity of the plants is 38 million per year, but the industry has full condition to double this quantity”, bets Levi, talking also about the changes occurred in the area. “The area of RCD recycling increased a lot between 2010 and 2014. Currently, 84 percent of Brazilian plants are private-owned. In 2002, approximately 80 percent of the plants belonged to public entities. Therefore, the Resolution Conama 307 was a milestone in this industry, encouraging companies to invest in this area.”