By Angela Giuffrida
We need to get used to the idea of using recycled construction materials.
News that construction waste will no longer be laid to rest in Dubai's landfill sites has to be a good thing, not only for the industry, but also for the environment, particularly with the mounting emphasis on sustainable building.
It may not come as much of a surprise that 75% of the total waste generated from Dubai each year originates from the emirate's construction sites, 50% of which has been deemed fit for reuse.
But while the creation of a plant dedicated to the recycling of construction and demolition waste is an encouraging sign that progress is being made towards a more efficient use of resources - and could even shield contractors from material price hikes - some questions may remain among those about to dutifully cart their debris off to the Emirates Recycling factory in Lusail.
One such question might be: how do we know that our construction waste will end up being recycled? And if it is, will it be produced in such a form so that it can be used again?
Maybe the first challenge, therefore, will be getting used to the idea of actually using recycled products. Will there ever come a point, for example, when recycled products are used to build an entire development? For now, the biggest advantage from recycling materials such as metal, concrete, plastic and rubble, could be enjoyed most by those building roads.
With the price of asphalt continuing to rise in line with the price of oil, road contractors will no doubt welcome an opportunity to source cheaper material closer to home.
But the inherently lengthy procedure of getting secondary aggregates approved, particularly in an industry that is only just beginning to embrace the idea of testing building materials in their primary form, is another obstacle road builders could face, leading to time wasted in getting a project started.
So while the move to recycle construction waste is a great start when it comes to making the best use of resources and eradicating the need for landfill sites, systems need to be in place to ensure that demand doesn't falter and lead buyers to shop elsewhere for primary products in order to get projects done quicker.
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