Portugal study finds enviro benefits from recycling construction, demo waste

By: SWR Staff


The European Union’s Science for Environment Policy publication has published a May 2013 study by Portuguese researchers that has projected huge environmental benefits from recycling construction and demolition waste.

Even after accounting for the impacts of the recycling process itself, the researchers found that over a standard 60-year lifespan, the recycling plant would likely produce more than 135,000 tonnes of CO2. However, their research found that the same plant would have prevented emissions of about 1.4 million tonnes over the same period, more than ten times what it produced.

Coelho, A. & de Brito, J.’s research paper, Environmental analysis of a construction and demolition waste recycling plant in Portugal – Part I: Energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

The research results predicted that the plant wasto use an amount of energy equivalent to more than 71,000 tonnes, but it conserved 563,000 tonnes, approximately eight times as much.

The researchers noted that these environmental benefits can only come to be, however, if the output materials produced by the recycling facility are effectively sent out and used for the fabrication of new products (especially construction related ones).

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