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Investigation of Construction and Demolition Wastes in the European Union Member States According to their Directives

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Contemporary Journal of Economics and Finance

Volume 1, Issue 2, March 2023, pages 7-26

Investigation of Construction and Demolition Wastes in the European Union Member States According to their Directives


1Nurşen Sönmez, 2Sibel Maçka Kalfa

Department of Architecture, Istanbul Technical University. Istanbul, Turkey
2 Department of Architecture, Karadeniz Technical University. Trabzon, Turkey

Abstract: Construction and demolition wastes (CDW) account for nearly 40% of total waste in the European Union (EU) in recent years. EU with the Waste Framework Directive (WFD), which is the basic law of the waste policy, has set various targets for the member countries to reduce CDW. However, this directive does not specify a common definition or approach for CDW and the application does not clearly define the evaluation categories. This has led to various strategic differences in CDW management among member states. Therefore, in this study, the correlation of CDW generation with national construction turnover, gross domestic product, and number of people in EU MS are examined and compared. These data were evaluated to analyze the relationship between landfill tax, CDW recovery rates, and landfill bans. According to the obtained correlation graphs, when all EU member states were examined, there is no particularly significant relationship between landfill or recovered CDW rates and CDW tax. However, a significant correlation was found in high CDW-generating countries when member states were classified as high and low CDW-generating. Finally, the current situation in Turkey was analyzed, and the processes and strategies to be followed according to the important deficiencies and gaps regarding the credibility of the CDW definition and data specified in the EU were determined.

Keywords: Construction and Demolition Waste, European Union, Waste Framework Directive, Waste Management, Turkey

1. Introduction

Construction and demolition wastes (CDW) have increased significantly as a result of urbanization (Saez & Osmani, 2019). This has made CDW a global issue (Shi & Xu, 2021). CDW accounts for nearly 30-40% of total waste globally (Chen et al., 2002). When CDW generated by natural disasters is added to these, this rate rises to 50% (Öztürk, 2005). China, the United States of America (USA), and the European Union (EU) are the top three CDW producers, as well as the three largest economies (Kabirifar et al., 2020). China nearly 400 million tonnes (CABR, 2014), the USA nearly 700 million tonnes (Wu et al., 2019) and the EU 850 million tonnes (Saez & Osmani, 2019) are responsible for generating construction and demolition waste per year. The recovery rate of CDW in 2018 was 5%, 76%, and 88%; in China (Wang et.al, 2021), the USA (EPA, 2020), and the EU (Eurostat, 2022a), respectively. In China, although 95% of these wastes are recyclable, they reach landfills without any waste separation (Wang et al., 2021). Worse still, most of them are disposed of in illegal landfills (Xu et al., 2018). In the USA, the recycling rate is nearly 25% (Yu et al., 2021). Eurostat (EU statistics website) (Eurostat, 2018) according to 2016 data, nearly 71% in the EU; While the Netherlands, one of the EU member states (MS), reached 100%, Italy and Slovenia exceeded 97%; Ireland, Croatia, Cyprus, Malta, Portugal, and Romania have a recycling rate of less than 50%.

CDW threatens many countries as it constitutes a large part of solid waste (Elgizawy et al., 2016). CDW, by EU definition, are the wastes with the highest volume and weight. The percentage of CDW in total wastes are 36% in the EU (Eurostat, 2018), 36% in Japan (Tam & Tam, 2008), 38% in Hong Kong (Tam & Tam, 2008), nearly 40% in China (Huang et al., 2018), and 44% in Australia (Tam & Tam, 2008); from EU MS, Austria, Malta, and Luxembourg have percentages of 75%, 79%, and 81.2% respectively (European Commission, 2022). In this case, CDW was determined by the EU as a priority waste stream due to its significant generation level and high recycling potential (Borghi et al., 2018). This study investigate CDW management, and practice in EU member states. Due to the uncertainties and gaps in the Waste Framework Directive (WFD), there is no common definition and approach for CDW in MS. There are differences in implements and evaluations. To compare these differences in EU-27 MS, CDW generated with 2018 data from Eurostat has been analyzed by taking into account factors such as construction turnover, GDP, and population. The study, considering the per-person CDW rate generated in each MS examines the relationship between CDW bans and taxes, CDW landfill, or recovery rates in MS. The current situation in Turkey was analyzed and the process to be followed was briefly stated.

1.1 Construction and Demolition Waste Concept and Management

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines the construction and demolition waste (EPA, 2016) as “waste from the construction, renovation, repair, and demolition of structures such as residential and commercial buildings, roads and bridges”. Researchers dealing with the issue of construction waste have identified many causes of waste (materials procurement and management, design and documentation, site management practices and site inspection, operations, and environmental conditions) that may arise during the life cycle of a project (Bajjou & Chafi, 2022). CDW is a heterogeneous waste consisting of various materials defined by waste codes in Chapter 17 of the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) (Borghi et al., 2018). CDW materials differ according to the type and nature of the activity (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Diversity of construction and demolition wastes per activity

Note: soils are excluded from the WFD definition of CDW but may be included by some MS in their national legislation.

Waste management basically; includes waste reduction, reuse, and recycling (Davis et al., 2021). Waste Regulation (Official Journal of the Republic of Turkey, 2015) includes construction waste management; defines waste generation as prevention/reduction, classification, collection, temporary landfill, intermediate landfill, transportation, reuse, recycling, recovery, and disposal. It is a form of management that controls the environment, and human health during and, after these processes (EC, 2008).

1.2 Research Methodology

The basic framework of this study is shown in Figure 2. In Stage 2, the Waste Framework Directive and Waste Hierarchy development framework and the uncertainties in the Waste Framework Directive (WFD) are given based on literature research. Due to the uncertainties and gaps in the WFD, there have been differences in practices and evaluations in EU member states. In Stage 3, to compare these differences in EU-27 Member States, the CDW generated from 2018 data from Eurostat (according to the most recent data published, ie 2018) is analyzed taking into account factors such as construction turnover, GDP, and population. The study examines the relationship between CDW bans in MS and taxes, CDW landfill, or recovery rates, taking into account the per capita CDW rate generated in each MS. In Stage 4, the current situation in Turkey was analyzed and the process to be followed was briefly stated.

Figure 2: The framework of this study

2. Waste Framework Directive

This stage adopts the EU Waste Framework Directive (WFD) and the waste hierarchy and uncertainties in the WFD.

2.1 Waste Framework Directive and Waste Hierarchy

In the European Union, waste management policies first started in 1975 with the WFD (EC, 1975; SOER, 2015). With this directive, waste has been recognized as an environmental problem for the first time. However, waste prevention and recycling have been defined as an intention rather than an attainable goal (SOER, 2015). The WFD has served as an important harmonization tool for nearly 30 years without significant change (elni review, 2010). The concept of recycling was included in the waste hierarchy when Ad Lansink launched its recycling policy in the Dutch parliament in 1979 (recycling.com, 2019). After 1979, the Directive was changed to 2006/12/EC in 2006 (EC, 2006; Neubauer, 2007) and 2008/98/EC in 2008 (EC, 2008; Wang & Xie, 2022). WFD is the basic law of the EU Waste Policy (EC, 2006). The WFD determines waste-related definitions for the EU-27 MS (EC, 2008) and provides a general framework for waste prevention and management (Römph & Cramer, 2020). Article 4 of the WFD requires the MS to define a waste management hierarchy incentived by law and policy (EC, 2012). WFD is implemented taking into account the waste management hierarchy (EC, 2008). The waste management hierarchy in the EU is prevention, reuse, recycling, energy recovery, landfill, and disposal (EC, 2002). In addition, the EU’s action plan adopted in 2015 was revised and adopted the circular economy with the WFD No. 2008/98/EC in 2018 (EC, 2014). The main goals of the 2008 WFD are to transform the EU into a ‘recycling society’, prevent waste generation, use waste as a resource, reduce the negative environmental and health impacts of waste and provide resource efficiency towards the creation of a circular economy (Ponce Del Castillo, 2014). Despite these goals, the current waste hierarchy still allows disposal, not reflecting a circular economy framework (Zhang et al., 2022). The proposed hierarchy is a closed-loop, resource-use hierarchy, which is identified with the concept of the circular economy. CDW management, which provides the flow of materials in a closed loop, is the most important gain of the circular economy (Bao & Lu, 2020). The goal of the closed material cycle model is to prevent the dumping of materials in landfills and to encourage the reuse, recycling, and remanufacturing of building components at the end of the building’s life cycle (Akinade, 2019). With this model, the belief that economic growth can proceed in parallel with environmental protection has also emerged (Bao & Lu, 2020). Along with this concept, the Zero Waste Hierarchy was formed (Figure 3). The zero waste hierarchy proposed by ZeroWaste Europe (2019) proposes to preserve value by designing wastes outside the system.

Figure 3: Waste management hierarchy development framework

Note: each figure was redesigned based on the given sources

Source: Figure a (EC, 1975); Figure b (recycling.com, 2019); Figure c (EC, 1991); Figure d (EC, 2006); Figure e (EC, 2008); Figure f (Gharfalkar et al., 2015); Figure g (ZeroWaste Europe, 2019).

2.2 Uncertainties of Waste Framework Directive

WFD adopted by the EU; A common definition for CDW does not specify an approach and the application does not clearly define evaluation categories. Previously, construction wastes were simply debris from construction sites (Al-Hajj & Hamani, 2011). However, there is currently no consensus on the definition of CDW (Yuan, 2017; Wang and Xie, 2022). For example, in CDW report data provided by EU MS include: Germany excavated/non-excavated soil (Deloitte, 2015a); Finland (Deloitte, 2015b), Spain (Deloitte, 2015c), and the Netherlands (Deloitte, 2015d) with/without hazardous waste; Finland (Deloitte, 2015b), Spain (Deloitte, 2015c), Sweden (Deloitte, 2015e), Austria (Deloitte, 2015f), Belgium (Deloitte, 2015g), Bulgaria (Deloitte, 2015h) and Romania (Deloitte, 2015i) with/without excavation or soil and stone. Since illegal disposals are not included in these reports, there is a great variation in reported values between countries (Saez & Osmani, 2019). Also, the CDW group may or may not be dangerous. However, Eurostat only analyses non-hazardous CDW. The non-hazardous category has a higher volume, increasing the chance of reuse (Cárcel-Carrasco et al., 2021). However, it does not give the total amount of CDW generated. In this case, there are problems with the accuracy and completeness of the recorded data collected and summarized by the MS. In addition, quantitative data CDW of illegally disposed of are not available. In addition, while the WFD does not provide a definition for backfilling, the term backfilling is evaluated differently between MS as recovery or disposal (Deloitte, 2017). According to Eurostat 2018 data (EEA, 2020), the including or excluding backfill of amounts reported affects the calculation of the recovery rate and causes large differences between some MS. Furthermore, the Directive indicates a shift from a policy based on waste disposal to a policy that prioritizes its use through recycling to conserve natural resources (Mália et al., 2013). The 2008/98/EC WFD includes the option to set end-of-waste (EoW) criteria for recycling waste-derived materials. However, the criteria have not yet been defined (Cárcel-Carrasco et al., 2021). Only five MS (Austria, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Romania) have end-of-waste criteria in their national legislation (Deloitte, 2017). In this case, the targets set do not directly contribute to recycling.

3. Management Performance of CDW in EU MS

The analytical methodology of this research comprises five stages corresponding to the third stage: CDW data framework, CDW Data reliability, analysis of CDW generation rates, analysis of CDW recovery rates, and CDW policy framework.

3.1 CDW Data Framework

EU adopted waste data for the first time in 2002 with regulation 2150/2002/EC on waste statistics. The regulation obliges EU MS to provide data on waste generation, recovery, and disposal every two years since 2004. As of this year, data on waste generation and treatment are available. However, CDW landfill data has been included in Eurostat since 2010 (Wang & Xie, 2022). In 2010, statistics on CDW generation were calculated using data sources such as surveys and interviews. As of 2011, CDW data is transferred directly to a central database by collection and processing companies (Deloitte, 2015f; Deloitte, 2017).

3.2 CDW Data Reliability

Data are obtained from Deloitte, which provides source data to the EU at this stage. The European Commission (Deloitte, 2017) assesses the data quality of the MS and divides it into three parts (Table 1). Due to methodological differences in data collection as defined between EU MS, there may be significant differences between countries for each variable to be compared.

Table 1: CDW data quality levels and data collection

Good Modest Poor
Germany ¹ Belgium ² Bulgaria ³
Austria ¹ Estonia ¹ Finland ³
Czechia ² France ² Ireland ³
Denmark ¹ Croatia ¹ Sweden ³
Netherlands ¹ Spain ³ Cyprus ³
Poland ¹ Italy ¹ Latvia ¹
Portugal ² Lithuania ¹ Malta ¹
Slovakia ³ Luxembourg ³ Romania ²
Slovenia ³ Hungary ³ Greece ³

Data collection: ¹ ADS: Administrative data sources; ² S: Survey; ³ ADS and S

Source: Based on the source Deloitte (2017)

3.3 Analysis of CDW Generation Rates

Large amounts of CDW are generated in the EU, but there are significant differences between MS (Iacoboaea et al., 2019). In EU MS, the highest and lowest rates were 81.2% in Luxembourg and 0.1% in Bulgaria in 2018 (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Waste generation (total waste percentage of CDW) by activities of EU MS in 2018

Source: European Commission (2022)

In Table 2, Germany and France generated more than 60 million tonnes of CDW in 2018. These countries are followed by Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands, respectively. However, it will not be an accurate and quality measurement to evaluate only by considering the amount of CDW generated. Factors such as construction turnover, Gross domestic product (GDP), and population are very important as that affect the amount of CDW generated. Table 2 was created with data on these parameters in each MS.

Table 2: Amount of CDW, analysis of construction turnover, GDP, and per person of each MS during 2018



Parameters Tonne / Parameter
CDW turnover (M€) GDP Person t/M€ t/GDP t/person
EU – 27 303.17 1.584.448 13.531.537,0 446.834.500 191,34 22,40 0,68
Belgium 21.76 68.495,8 460.091,7 11.467.900 317,71 47,30 1,90
Bulgaria 0.15 8.051,8 56.224,7 7.000.000 18,76 2,69 0,02
Czechia 7.50 32.958,4 210.970,5 10.649.800 227,44 35,53 0,70
Denmark 4.13 38.048,0 302.328,7 5.806.100 108,47 13,65 0,71
Germany 86.41 311.194,9 3.367.860,0 83.019.200 277,68 25,66 1,04
Estonia 1.21 3.890,8 25.817,7 1.324.800 309,72 46,68 0,91
Ireland 0,71 29.639,8 326.631,3 4.904.200 23,89 2,17 0,14
Greece 1.15 9.308,6 179.557,7 10.722.300 123,01 6,38 0,11
Spain 14.50 150.361,1 1.203.259,0 46.934.600 96,41 12,05 0,31
France 68.98 309.259,1 2.363.306,0 67.028.000 223,04 29,19 1,03
Croatia 0.50 6.519,2 52.688,8 4.076.200 75,22 9,31 0,12
Italy 41.27 166.843,7 1.771.391,2 60.359.500 247,33 23,30 0,68
Cyprus 0.32 3.578,0 21.612,6 875.900 90,74 15,02 0,37
Latvia 0.39 4.707,8 29.153,6 1.920.000 81,86 13,22 0,20
Lithuania 0.80 6.172,0 45.514,8 2.794.200 129,22 17,52 0,29
Luxembourg 0.64 6.251,4 60.362,2 613.900 102,16 10,58 1,04
Hungary 3.47 14.065,0 136.073,4 9.772.800 246,60 25,49 0,35
Malta 1.88 1.251,6 12.954,8 493.600 1500,1 144,93 3,80
Netherlands 21.20 105.000,5 773.987,0 17.282.200 201,91 27,39 1,23
Austria 11.16 52.893,8 385.424,0 8.858.800 211,02 28,96 1,26
Poland 6.76 78.186,1 497.842.3 37.972.800 86,41 13,57 0,18
Portugal 1.56 20.150,7 205.184,1 10.276.600 77,33 7,59 0,15
Romania 0.73 20.458,2 204.496,9 19.401.700 35,56 3,56 0,04
Slovenia 1.07 5.580,2 45.864,2 2.080.900 190,87 23,22 0,51
Slovakia 0.85 11.078,3 89.430,0 5.450.400 76,64 9,49 0,16
Finland 1.25 38.638,7 233.462,0 5.517.900 32,36 5,35 0,23
Sweden 2.88 81.864,7 470.673,1 10.230.200 35,14 6,11 0,28

Source: Data from Eurostat (2022b)

For each parameter analyzed according to Table 2, values higher than the EU mean are shown in gray (Table 3). In Table 3, Belgium, and Estonia have the highest; Bulgaria, and Ireland have the lowest construction turnover. Belgium and Estonia exceed 300 tonnes/M€; Ireland generated at such a low level that it could not exceed 20 tonnes/M€. The average CDW/GDP rate in the EU-27 MS were 22.4 tonnes in 2018. Belgium, Estonia, Czechia, France, Austria, Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Slovenia were the MS exceeding the average. In contrast, Ireland, and Bulgaria have the lowest CDW/GDP ratios.

Table 3: Ranking of EU MS by amount of CDW generated for three parameters analyzed in 2018

CDW and Turnover CDW and GDP CDW and Person
MS t / M€ MS t / GDP MS t / Person
1 Belgium 317,71 Belgium 47,30 Belgium 1,90
2 Estonia 309,72 Estonia 46,68 Austria 1,26
3 Germany 277,68 Czechia 35,53 Netherlands 1,23
4 Italy 247,33 France 29,19 Germany 1,04
5 Hungary 246,60 Austria 28,96 Luxembourg 1,04
6 Czechia 227,44 Netherlands 27,39 France 1,03
7 France 223,04 Germany 25,66 Estonia 0,91
8 Austria 211,02 Hungary 25,49 Denmark 0,71
9 Netherlands 201,91 Italy 23,30 Czechia 0,70
10 EU – 27 191,34 Slovenia 23,22 Italy 0,68
11 Slovenia 190,87 EU – 27 22,40 EU – 27 0,68
12 Lithuania 129,22 Lithuania 17,52 Slovenia 0,51
13 Greece 123,01 Cyprus 15,02 Cyprus 0,37
14 Denmark 108,47 Denmark 13,65 Hungary 0,35
15 Luxembourg 102,16 Poland 13,57 Spain 0,31
16 Spain 96,41 Latvia 13,22 Lithuania 0,29
17 Cyprus 90,74 Spain 12,05 Sweden 0,28
18 Poland 86,41 Luxembourg 10,58 Finland 0,23
19 Latvia 81,86 Slovakia 9,49 Latvia 0,20
20 Portugal 77,33 Croatia 9,31 Poland 0,18
21 Slovakia 76,64 Portugal 7,59 Slovakia 0,16
22 Croatia 75,22 Greece 6,38 Portugal 0,15
23 Romania 35,56 Sweden 6,11 Ireland 0,14
24 Sweden 35,14 Finland 5,35 Croatia 0,12
25 Finland 32,36 Romania 3,56 Greece 0,11
26 Ireland 23,89 Bulgaria 2,69 Romania 0,04
27 Bulgaria 18,76 Ireland 2,17 Bulgaria 0,02
* Malta 1500,10 Malta 144,93 Malta 3,80

* Malta has been excluded due to data quality as data rates are too high.

Source: Based on data in Table 2

3.4 Analysis of CDW Recovery Rates

The WFD has set a target of at least 70% non-hazardous CDW (excluding soils) recovery by 2020 (EC, 2008). Figure 5 shows the recovery rates of EU-27 MS from 2010 to 2018, with data from Eurostat (Eurostat, 2022c). In Figure 5, recovery data is very volatile in some MS (such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania).

Figure 4: The recovery rate of construction and demolition wastes

Data is confidential (Czechia –2018; Germany -2014 and 2016)

Data not available (Denmark –2010; Latvia – 2010 and 2012; Slovakia -2010 and 2012). 

Source: Eurostat (2022c)

In Figure 5, nearly 88% of the total CDW was recovered in the EU in 2018. However, this rate also includes the filling rate, which is called backfilling. Most of MS accept backfilling as recovery. However, backfilling is a disposal method and refers to a process that cannot be recovered even if disposal results in the recovery of materials or energy (Deloitte, 2017). In Figure 6, Malta has a 100% recovery including backfill, while it has a recovery rate of 24% excluding backfill. In addition to the country of Malta, similarly, MS failed to exceed the EU 2020 70% recovery target excluding backfilling; in Poland, Czechia, France, Estonia, Romania, Croatia, Ireland, and Portugal. The MS of Sweden, Cyprus, and Slovakia failed to achieve this target in both cases, with or without backfill.

Figure 6: Recovery rates of CDW including and excluding backfilling in EU MS in 2016

*Recovery rate including backfilling data was not available for the year 2016, so data from 2018 was used.

Source: The figure EEA (2020) was created from the data in the source

3.5 CDW Policy Framework

Through the WFD, EU MS has established different waste management implements and policies. Combined with the increase in CDW and the lack of local government policies for CDW management, the problems associated with the collection, transportation, and disposal of waste have increase (Nunes & Mahler, 2020). These problems cause significant adverse effects on the environment, increased energy consumption, and consume finite landfill resources (Brandao et al., 2022). In this case, a lack of landfill will be inevitable over the years (Doan & Chinda, 2016). Although all MS have adopted the WFD into their national regulations, only Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain in 2008 and in 2019 France developed national regulations for CDW management (Saez & Osmani, 2019). Because of the remaining MS rely on waste management plans; they do not have specific national CDW regulations (Saez & Osmani, 2019). Deloitte (2017) has divided EU MS into 3 categories according to their CDW legal framework (Figure 7).

Figure 7: Level of maturity of the legal framework in MS

Source: The figure was redesigned based on Deloitte (2017)

Zhang et al. (2022) found in their study that countries in North-Western Europe have better practices in CDW management. This situation supports Figure 7. The level of CDW management varies considerably in EU MS. For example, the landfill rate for CDW ranges from 0% for the Netherlands, Ireland, and Malta to 76% for Bulgaria (Eurostat, 2022c). Table 4 shows the Member States’ classification of CDW landfill bans and landfill taxes according to the high and low CDW generated per person identified in Table 3.

Table 5: Landfill ban and landfill taxes for high and low CDW generating per person in EU MS

High CDW generating Low CDW generating
MS Ban Tax € /ton MS Ban Tax € /ton
Belgium ü ü 56,05-113,01 Slovenia ü ü 19,2
Austria ü ü 9,20 Cyprus
Netherlands ü ü 13,07 Hungary ü ü 28
Germany ü Spain ü 5-40
Luxembourg ü Lithuania ü ü 7,14
France ü ü 40-150 Sweden ü ü 54
Estonia ü ü 29,84 Finland ü ü 55
Denmark ü ü 49-64 Latvia ü 13
Czechia ü 18,50 Poland ü ü 2,7
Italy ü 1,03-10,33 Slovakia ü ü 0,33-6,64
Malta Portugal ü 4,27
Ireland ü 75
Croatia ü
Greece ü 40
Romania ü 18
Bulgaria ü 14,3

Source: The table, Deloitte (2015a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o); Deloitte (2017); CEWEP (2017); Eurostat (2018); EC (2018); Saez & Osmani (2019), was created from the data in the sources.

In Table 4, according to the data in Table 3, the ones that are above the EU-27 average of the MS according to the amount of CDW generated per person (0.68 tonnes/person) are high; others are defined as low CDW producers. Figure 8 was created to classify the analyzed CDW policy framework for EU MS by per person CDW rates and analyze the relationship of these rates to CDW landfill tax and landfill rates. In MS, CDW landfill taxes differ by region or province, or by type of construction waste. The highest of the different CDW landfill taxes applied for countries such as Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, and Slovenia were taken.

Figure 8: Relationship between CDW landfill rate and landfill tax in EU MS in 2018

Data were not available for Czechia’s CDW landfill rate in 2018, so data from 2016 were used.

Landfill taxes and bans may be two of the most effective practices for increasing CDW recovery rates (Deloitte, 2017). However, in this correlation graph, no direct relationship was found between the CDW landfill tax and the CDW landfill rate, or recovery rate (Figure 8). In previous research studies, no clear relationship was found between the landfill tax of CDW and its recovery rates (Deloitte, 2017; Saez & Osmani, 2019). However, in this study, we observed that this situation changed when we classified the MS as high and low CDW generating MS (Figure 9).

Figure 9: Correlation between CDW landfill rate and landfill tax in high and low CDW generating MS.

In Figure 9, high CDW generating MS, the ‘correlation coefficient (coef)’, defined as the effect of the independent variable (CDW landfill rate) on the dependent variable (CDW landfill tax), is much higher than in low CDW generating MS. In this case, while high CDW generating MS apply the right strategy by increasing the CDW landfill tax to reduce the CDW landfill rate in low CDW generating MS, no linear relationship was observed between CDW landfill rate and landfill tax. Also, in MS other than high CDW generating MS, if the p-value is not less than 0.05, it shows that there is no statistically significant difference between the distribution of the data group (Table 5).

Table 6: Statistical results of high and low CDW generating MS

CDW Generating No.of MS Coef* F-statistic P-value R2 Std error Skew Kurtosis
All MS 27 0.76 4.01 0.134 0.38 1.18 4.35
High 11 5.03 15.80 0.003** 0.612 1.26 1.10 3.80
Low 16 0.42 2.21 0.128 0.28 0.62 2.56

*correlation coefficient; **p<0.05; NSNot significant

Descriptive statistics of EU MS by CDW generating are presented in Table 6 for all MS, high and low CDW generating MS, with median and interquartile ranges. While the landfill rate of high CDW generating MS is 3%; in low CDW generating MS this rate is 13%. The CDW landfill tax rate is also higher in low CDW generating MS.

Table 7: Descriptive statistics of the CDW generating performance level in the EU

CDW Generating Mean Min Q1 Median Q3 Max
CDW landfill rate


All MS (27) 13.7 0.0 2.0 7.0 23.5 76.0
High (11) 6.1 0.0 2.0 3.0 7.5 27.0
Low (16) 18.94 0.0 2.75 13.0 26.0 76.0
CDW landfill tax

(€ / tonne)

All MS (27) 29.1 0.0 5.46 14.3 40.0 150.0
High (11) 37.1 0.0 4.6 13.07 46.92 150.0
Low (16) 23.58 0.0 6.05 16.15 40.0 75.0

4. Turkey

In Turkey, the detailed definition of the word waste is first included in the Environmental Law of 1983 (Official Journal of the Republic of Turkey, 1983). The definition of solid waste and the general framework of waste management were included in the Solid Waste Control Regulation (Çevre Bakanlığı, 1991). Waste policies have been included since the 5th Five-Year Development Plan 1985-1989 (1984). In Turkey, the first study on CDW was in 2004. There are four regulations for CDW conducted by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change:

  • Excavated Soil, Construction, and Demolition Waste Control Regulation (Official Journal of the Republic of Turkey, 2004).
  • Regulation on Landfilling of Wastes (Official Journal of the Republic of Turkey, 2010).
  • Waste Management Regulation (Official Journal of the Republic of Turkey, 2015).
  • Zero Waste Regulation – 2019 (Official Journal of the Republic of Turkey, 2019).

Turkey has not yet adopted the Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) into its national legislation and current regulations are not enough for CDW management. Available regulations are only theoretical and are not implemented. In Turkey, for the implementation of these regulations, first of all, CDW data must be available. However, there are currently no legal or economic mechanisms in Turkey to assist in reducing the amount of disposal and landfill of CDW. In Table 7, the CDW management comparison chart between Turkey and the EU is given.

Table 8: Comparison of CDW related indicators of Turkey and EU Member States

Indicators European Union (EU-27) Turkey
Waste Framework Directive Available in all 27 MS No
CDW Management Plan Available in all 27 MS No
Specific Regulations for CDWM Available in 4 of 27 MS No
CDW data Available in all 27 MS, although the quality of data varies No data
CDW landfill ban Application in 16 of 27 MS No
CDW landfill tax Application in 22 of 27 MS No
CDW recovery rate 88% No data
CDW recycling rate 71% No data
Backfill definition Available in 12 of 27 MS No
End of waste criteria (EoW) Available in 5 of 27 MS No
Distribution of CDW recycling facilities Available in all 27 MS, although their number may differ In some developed cities, facilities for aggregates have been operation
National/regional sorting obligation Application in 16 of 27 MS No
National/regional separate collection obligation Application in 13 of 27 MS No
Obligation separate collection and management of hazardous CDWs Application in all 27 MS No
Pre-demolition audits Application in 16 of 27 MS Lack of regulations and organizations
Green Public Procurement Application in 11 of 27 MS No
Future target 70% recovery To disseminate the importance and management

In Table 7, in the 2016-2023 Action Plan (UAYEP, 2018), the only target for CDW as the future target is to promote the importance and management of CDW and excavated soil. This action plan is not a policy that contains or proposes specific solutions for CDW. When we compare it with the EU; EU MS have much better policies and practices than Turkey (Table 7). Many factors can be attributed to this situation: lack of CDW data, lack of regulations and practices to reduce and prevent CDW production, lack of control mechanisms (especially illegal CDW disposal) and specific standards system, lack of policy for recycled materials, lack of financial incentives, CDW recovery and lack of recycling facilities, etc. However, according to Table 5, this situation differs between MS.

5. Conclusion

This study presents an analysis of firstly WFD’s uncertainties about CDW then the EU member states’ CDW generation and recovery rates, policy frameworks, and the situation in Turkey. The study reached the following conclusions:

  • The CDW defined by the EU’s WFD demonstrated significant uncertainties and gaps of existing legislation and policies (definition, scope, standards, policies, and data quality of the CDW).
  • The study shows that current strategies and policies are various and sectional in MS and are not equally promoted. This case prevents the development of algorithms for MS to estimate the amount of CDW and the constitute an efficient infrastructure for CDW with each MS’s ‘Circular Economy’ model.
  • Belgium, Germany, and Estonia were found to be the highest ranked according to parameter analyses such as CDW-construction turnover, CDW-GDP, and CDW-person, and Bulgaria, Ireland, and Romania were the lowest.
  • Considering all EU MS, no relationship was found between the CDW landfill tax and the CDW landfill rate or recovery rate. This may be stem from the various quality levels of CDW data processed by MS and/or the revenue generation from these taxations (rather than features such as prevention, reduction, reuse, recycling of CDW) in some MS.However, there is a difference when we classify MS as generating high and low CDW. In the MS generating high CDW, a high correlation was observed among CDW landfill tax and CDW landfill rate; while such a situation was not observed in the MS generating low CDW. That is, while high CDW generating MS impose landfill taxes and/or bans to reduce the amount of CDW produced and make better its management, other MS (low CDW generating) have generally not undertake with such responsibility. However, in this study, it was observed that the CDW landfill rate could not be reduced with only CDW landfill taxes and bans for each MS. This shows that in every MS there is also the impact of other factors that affect waste management.
  • European Union’s target of recovery rate for the year 2020 has not been achieved, including backfilling three MS and excluding the backfilling of twelve MS.
  • Turkey is very deficient in CDW management, practices, and policies.

Recommendations for this study should include a quantitative recycling target rather than an EU CDW recovery target. To achieve this goal, effective recycling facilities will be needed. EU CDW management protocol; It has already stated (Elshaboury & Marzouk, 2021) that the identification, separation, and collection of CDW will assist in the improvement of reverse logistics of CDW, CDW processing and quality, and management of recycled products from CDW, and appropriate policies. Solving the CDW management problem will lead to better strategic development with the application of new technologies (such as BIM, artificial intelligence, big data, internet of things). Using these technologies that automatically identify different materials, on-site waste separation has the potential to aid CDW classification and reduce costs (Davis et al., 2021). In this case, artificial intelligence (AI) integrated simulation methods should be developed to predict and quantify the probability of CDW occurrence. Algorithms and approaches developed with this method should be supported by case studies in MS by the European Commission and encouraged by the success rate of each country. Thus, considering the reliability, suitability, and flexibility of the approach developed in each country, the risks that are or are likely to occur will be dealt with more easily, quickly, and successfully. Appropriate policies should be implemented for these and each MS of the EU, together with its construction stakeholders, should develop specific national regulations for CDW management. In particular, more efficient and coordinately policies should be promoted for the identify of waste-end-criteria, followability guidelines, pre-demolition inspections (Giorgi et al., 2022), and the development of harmonized supporting guidelines for material (such as the taxation of raw materials) and tools. Turkey should immediately begin initiatives to develop prevention, reduction, and recovery programs for CDW in national, regional, and local policies. Regional planning and policies would be more beneficial because of the amount of CDW generated and the type of waste generated are different in each region.

Information Note

This paper was produced by expanding from the paper titled ‘Evaluation of Construction and Demolition Wastes in the Context of the Waste Framework Directive of the European Union Member States’ of the 7th International Project and Construction Management Conference (hosted by Yildiz Technical University, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering).


Many thanks to the ‘ResearchLeap’ team, who offered to publish our paper in their journal and helped develop this research work.


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