Recycle Construction Waste


Construction wastes India is in a bad state, no proper precautions and guidelines are being followed. This is resulting untreated and unprocessed wastes which is impacting the environment as a whole. The Ministry of Urban Development had urged the States long back in June 2012 to set up waste management facilities for construction industries. In fact, the waste management guidelines of 2017 clearly mentioned timelines for the policies and identified sites for carrying out the rules.

The sorry state of waste in India

The construction boom in India is leading to the generation of enormous quantities of C&D waste and this trend is likely to further increase in the decades ahead. Especially in the older cities, significant demolition often precedes construction, as older buildings are demolished to make way for newer ones, typically high-rises. Although comprehensive estimates of C&D waste generation in the country are not known,12-15 million tonnes/annum generation is reported by a TIFAC study in 2014. With a significant construction boom, many experts believe that this quantum is underestimated. A 2015 survey of 10 cities across India also seems to reinforce the conclusion that the TIFAC 2001 estimate is probably a significant underestimate.

The 2018 “Ready Reckoner” on CDW generation released by the Buildings Materials & Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC), MoHUA estimates that 100 million tonnes of CDW is the closest approximation for nationwide generation. This figure is based on zero-based estimate with existing housing stock of 110,139, 853 in urban areas and 220,695,914 in rural areas (based on 2011 Census), coupled with rate of renovation and new construction of 5.75 billion sq. m. area during 2005-2012. This once again reaffirms that TIFAC 2001 data needs revision through a robust methodology for inventorisation and regular data collection.

In 2016 it was reported by TOI, India generates 165-175 million tonnes of debris annually. While Delhi generated about 5,000 tonnes daily, Mumbai got about 3,000 tonnes, followed by Kolkata (2,000 tonnes), and Chennai (1,500 tonnes). This has now increased even further.

In 2018, Strategy for Promoting Processing of Construction and Demolition (C&D) Waste and Utilisation of Recycled Products was drafted. It is intended to help facilitate the implementation of the C&D Waste Rules 2016 to ensure that ULBs across the country are able to adopt proper C&D waste management and recycled products find appropriate and adequate utilisation. Although India produces enormous amounts of C&D waste and volumes are expected to grow further with time, there are no reliable estimates of generation volume, either at the local or national level. Management of the waste has historically been poor, with a very small fraction diverted for reuse and the rest dumped, often in an unauthorised manner, causing myriad environmental problems.

Why recycle?

Recycling is very important as waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment. Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from rubbish in landfill sites. Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste.

Recycling reduces the need for raw materials so that the rainforests can be preserved. Huge amounts of energy are used when making products from raw materials. Recycling requires much less energy and therefore helps to preserve natural resources.

The production of fresh material takes a heavy toll on natural resources, in addition to the energy required for extraction, transportation and processing. Production processes also add to the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, release pollutants into the ground and water systems, and disturb the local ecosystem.

On the other hand, metal recycling and other scrap reclamation processes use a much smaller percentage of energy and resources. Reusing and recycling waste material keeps it out of landfills, which is another huge benefit for the environment.

6 Wastes that could be easily recycled

Concrete – Recycling concrete from demolition project can result in considerable savings since it saves the costs of transporting concrete to the landfill (as much as $ .25 per ton/mile), and eliminates the cost of disposal (as high as $100 per ton).As landfill costs for construction, demolition, and land-clearing debris continue to rise and the landfills become more heavily regulated, it makes economic sense to seek alternative means of disposal of concrete from construction and demolition operations. More disposal sites are opening up and contractors are incorporating recycling into their operations to decrease disposal costs.

Bricks – Recycling bricks minimises the need for mining and quarrying activities to produce new bricks and diverts significant quantities of waste materials from landfill. Recycling bricks also results in cost savings for businesses through avoidance of landfill fees and transport costs, and through the reuse of bricks in other construction applications such as paving and landscaping.

Timber – Recycling timber has become popular due to its image as an environmentally friendly product. Common belief among consumers is that by purchasing recycled wood, the demand for “green timber” will fall and ultimately benefit the environment. Greenpeace also view recycled timber as an environmentally friendly product, citing it as the most preferable timber source on their website. The arrival of recycled timber as a construction product has been important in both raising industry and consumer awareness towards deforestation and promoting timber mills to adopt more environmentally friendly practices.

Metal – According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), steel is the most recycled material on the planet. The other highly recycled metals include aluminum, copper, silver, brass, and gold. Metals are valuable materials that can be recycled again and again without degrading their properties. Scrap metal has value, which motivates people to collect it for sale to recycling operations. In addition to a financial incentive, there is also an environmental imperative. The recycling of metals enables us to preserve natural resources while requiring less energy to process than the manufacture of new products using virgin raw materials.

Asphalt Shingles – It is becoming increasingly common for shingles to be recycled versus being sent to a landfill. Shingle recycling is the process of taking asphalt shingles from roof tear-offs and collecting them for reuse into another products, ensuring the material does not end up in a landfill. Shingle recycling is economically viable, convenient where available, and saves valuable resources from being sent to a landfill.

Gypsum Wallboard – Gypsum waste can be turned into recycled gypsum by processing the gypsum waste in such a way that the contaminants are removed and the paper facing of the plasterboard is separated from the gypsum core through mechanical processes including grinding and sieving in specialised equipment. Gypsum waste such as gypsum blocks and plaster do not require the removal of paper, as they are not made with paper from the beginning.

Mentioned above are few of the pivotal ones, other than that we can reuse material such as Cardboard and Paper, Plastic, Gravel, Window glass also.


Human life has made redundant use of materials, more production means more pollution, which the human community cannot bear at this moment. Recycle is the way forward, with ever increasing demand of construction, we got to preserve what we could.

“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.”
– Thomas Fuller, Historian

Info and source- Times of India,,,