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Unlocking value from C&D waste in the Middle East and Africa

Unlocking value from C&D waste in the Middle East and Africa

When supported with the appropriate processing practices and technology, sand and stone resources recovered from construction and demolition (C&D) activities can be utilized for high-value construction and infrastructure projects.

If we look at the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, for example, almost 11 million tons of non-hazardous waste was produced in 2019, including significant volumes of C&D waste[1].

In the region, sharp economic growth in the construction industry has led to increasing legislation aimed at reducing the volume of waste destined for landfill.

In February last year, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) issued the Ministerial Resolution No. 21 of 2019 on the use of recycled aggregates[2].

It outlined the requirements for recycling, among other non-hazardous solid waste, concrete and gravel into new, high-value materials for projects including road surfacing.

The resolution also mandated local departments to ensure contractors collect and sort waste generated at their construction and demolition sites.

This follows the Federal National Council in Abu Dhabi passing waste management legislation with the aim of reducing municipal solid waste (MSW) going to from landfill by 75% by 2021[3].

Heading in the right direction

There is work still to be done, but there is progress being made right across the Middle East and Africa in the field of C&D waste recycling.

For example, waste generation in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi decreased by 13.6% from 2012 – 2019. There was also a hugely significant reduction in the generation of construction demolition waste, which fell by almost 62% in the same period to 3.7 million tons last year[4].

The benefits to this circular economy approach are significant in terms of combatting depleting natural sand and aggregate resources by utilizing the abundant incoming C&D waste stream.

Determining whether a recycled product is fit for purpose or not is dependent on how it is processed and its intended use. For example, Ministerial Resolution No. 21 of 2019 stated contractors can meet up to 40% of their material requirements from recycled aggregates in projects such as road paving, earth filling at construction sites, and more.

Soaring urbanization also presents a mounting challenge to meet the demands of the construction industry, and recycled materials are an effective solution when supported by the most appropriate technologies and practices.


The CDE solution

CDE is supporting customers around the world to realize the potential in recycled aggregates. With the appropriate practices and the backing of the latest wet processing technology, high 

quality in-spec sand and aggregate products can be extracted from C&D waste and returned to support new construction and infrastructure projects, both consistently and competitively.

The Sheehan Group, one of the UK’s leading regional construction groups, has diverted over 750,000 tonnes of inert waste from landfill over the past seven years. It creates 20,000 building blocks a day from 100% recycled aggregates which follows a CE-certified process.

Similarly, Pélichet Albert SA, the public works contractor and aggregates producer based in western France, operates a circular economy business model with operations in demolition, groundworks, landfill and C&D waste recycling. With the support of CDE wet processing technology, Pélichet is diverting up to an estimated 200,000 tonnes per year of C&D waste from landfill. The engineered-to-order plant is supporting Pélichet to produce high quality competitive and sustainable sand and aggregates for use in concrete mix and drainage systems, ensuring valuable resources are returned to the construction industry.

In Long Island, New York CDE commissioned one of the largest and most advanced contaminated soil washing facilities in the world for Posillico Inc. The Farmingdale facility has the capacity to recycle up to 3,000 tons of soil per day while simultaneously recovering high value recyclable and saleable products, such as sand and aggregates, that meet NYSDEC remediation standards.

Another of CDE’s pioneering customers is the Melbourne-based Repurpose It project for which CDE commissioned a new plant with the capacity processes up to 150 tons per hour of C&D waste into high-value construction products.


[1]Waste Statistics in Abu Dhabi Emirates (July 2020)

[2]Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Issues Resolution on Recycled Aggregates from Construction, Demolition Waste (February 2019)

[3]UAE Efforts to Manage Waste

[4]Waste Statistics in Abu Dhabi Emirates (July 2020)

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