The building industry sets up its recycling sector


The first applicant for the role of eco-organisation in the building waste recycling sector has made itself known – it is Valobat. This is the name chosen by 26 major players in construction products, representing 50% of the market. They presented their eco-organisation project, launched in the first quarter of 2021 under the impetus of Saint-Gobain.

To fight illegal dumping and increase the recycling of “building products and materials (“PMCBs”), the law has prescribed the start of a recycling scheme in January 2022. Its collection points will accept waste, previously sorted at source by major family (metals, wood, etc.), free of charge. The sector will be financed by the eco-contribution coming from any PMCB sold and will be overseen by one or more eco-organisations.

The scale of this future recycling sector is unprecedented.

    The building industry creates 46 million tonnes of waste per year, the current management cost for which is 3 billion euros. This is more than the cost of all existing recycling channels.

    Hervé de Maistre
    General Manager, Saint-Gobain

One of the tasks for the future sector, in addition to recycling, will be to help reduce illegal dumping, the cost of which for local authorities is estimated at between €340 million and €420 million.

Another sign of the size of the sector, in France, “600,000 operators are involved in deconstruction”, Hervé de Maistre continued. They will have to be persuaded to sort their waste at source and bring it to collection points. To manage the diversity of materials, Valobat will consist of 9 “sectors”, one for each of the major PMCB families. Currently, the recycling of these materials is uneven. 69% of PMCBs are recovered, either by recycling or by use as fuel or road fill, with re-use still almost non-existent. 

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