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Construction and Demolition Waste Management: Current Practices

in Asia
Vilas Nitivattananon and Guilberto Borongan
Asian Institute of Technology, Urban Environmental Management
School of Environment, Resources and Development, Asian Institute
of Technology, Thailand.
The G8 Action Plan on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development:
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (3R) Action Plan and the Progress of
Implementation were adopted during the G8 Sea Island Summit in USA in
2004. The following year in 2005, the 3R Initiative was formally launched at a
Ministerial Conference in Tokyo, Japan. Data show that approximately 40% of
the generated waste portion globally originates from construction and
demolition of buildings. Construction and Demolition (C & D) waste is bulky,
heavy and is mostly unsuitable for disposal by incineration or composting.
This poses to waste management problems in urban areas in Asia. According
to US EPA (1998) definition, C&D waste is waste material produced in the
process of construction, renovation, or demolition of structures. Components
of C&D waste are typically concrete, asphalt, wood, metals, gypsum
wallboard, and roofing.
Currently, existence of regional and national policies, laws and regulations
governing 3R principles for C & D waste is minimal in Asia. In Japan more
than a quarter of a century of research was on the reuse of demolished
concrete, relatively little concrete has been recycled due to non-compliance
with standard. The former Ministry of Construction (MOC) (now named
Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Road) nominated
demolished concrete, soil, asphalt concrete, and wood as construction byproducts. Most of the countries (including PR China, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand
and Vietnam) do not have specific regulations designed for C & D wastes,
although some countries include some sections in their solid waste
management regulations and/or related policies.
IGES (2006) highlighted the promotion system for addressing the 3R, and
noted that in almost all developing countries, legal systems regarding the 3R
have yet to be established. It also elaborates the insufficient institutional
capacity to support 3R measures which is a common issue for all developing
countries to address. Waste management policy making is relatively
decentralized in Hong Kong. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD)
and the Environment and Food Bureau (EFB), are responsible for the policy
formulation and implementation. Other Asian countries like Malaysia, Sri

Lanka, India, and China practice 3R principles on C & D waste but

institutionalization has not been established.
Urban environmental management in the construction industry has been
growing rapidly in some countries in Asia. Attaining towards sustainable
development, some countries take efforts towards practicing environmental
management system (EMS). Research in Singapore and Hong Kong SAR
highlighted that C & D waste imposes an environmental burden. Some
international and local construction industries in Singapore have already
adopted the structured approach for improvement of the environmental
performance of construction by ISO 14000 EMS (Ofori, 2000). Another case in
Hong Kong where the local industry has been promoting measures such as
establishing waste management plans, reduction and recycling of
construction and demolition wastes, providing in-house training on
environmental management, and legal measures on environmental
Hong Kong extensive and infrastructure development programme has led to
a significant increase in C & D waste generation in the last decade. Eguchi et
al. (2007) developed production method for recycled concrete to be used for
building, which is different from that proposed by the MOC of Japan (the
Comprehensive R&D Project method). The findings obtained are summarized
as follows: recycled concrete aggregate produced by a simple assembled
system of equipment and improvement of recycling ratio of the concrete
blocks; performance quality of parameters such as replacement ratio,
compressive strength and elastic modulus, among others has relative quality

3R principle should be addressed by the key parties in the construction

industry: clients (including funders), designers, contractors, labourers and
suppliers. In Indonesia, construction managers, client, consultants, suppliers,
foremen and laborers are the stakeholders involved in construction industry.
Commitment and involvement of all project participants are highlighted for
waste minimization. In Hong Kong, key stakeholders involved in the
construction industry are director, engineers, quality manager, site manager,
safety manager, environmental manager, contracts manager and workers.
Many construction industries are now just starting to realize the importance
of environmental management due to increasing pressure from
environmental violations and governmental regulations. It is also important
to also note that participation of NGOs and members of society is evident in
the waste sector, particularly in the C&D waste. Japan uses the indicator
resource productivity of all general solid waste. This is defined as the ratio of

the GDP and the direct material input. Another indicator considered by Japan
is the amount of final disposal amount. These indicators along with targets
are used for policy making purposes. A study in Sri Lanka demonstrates
seven selected indicators in C & D waste. These are: salaries, value added,
expenditure, services, raw materials consumed, and value of work done and
value of contract.
Currently, existence of regional and national policies, laws and regulations
governing 3R principles for C & D waste is minimal in Asia. C&D waste
management strategies particularly the 3R should perhaps be lobby to urban
areas in Asia. This requires coordination and cooperation with the
involvement of local, national and regional governments to channel the
pressing issue of environmental management and its innovative solutions
and strategies to the C&D sector