Construction and demolition waste survey for 2019

The construction and demolition waste survey for Wales is managed by Natural Resources Wales on behalf of Welsh Government.

Running from April to September 2021, it recorded the waste produced by 508 construction and demolition businesses in Wales during 2019.

The survey work was required to:

  • identify what new recycling and waste treatment facilities may be needed around Wales
  • monitor performance against National Waste Strategy targets including waste minimisation, recycling and diversion from landfill
  • generate statistics for statutory reporting purposes

Data collection

Data was collected from 508 business sites of differing sectors and sizes throughout Wales between April 2021 and September 2021. The data was grossed up using population data to Welsh regional and national levels.

The 2019 survey results delivered a significant improvement on survey precisions providing the most accurate estimate of national construction & demolition waste arisings to date.

Main findings

  • Welsh construction and demolition sectors generated an estimated 3.43 million tonnes of waste in 2019
  • The majority of construction & demolition waste was generated by the Construction of Civil Engineering Constructions (36%), General Building (16%) and Construction of Domestic Building (16%) sectors, with the remaining six sectors accounting for less than 10% each of the total construction and demolition waste arisings
  • The results indicated that the construction & demolition sector was on course for achieving waste prevention, recycling and landfill targets set by Welsh Government

Type of waste

The most significant type of C&D waste generated was mixed wastes and soil, accounting for 45% and 38% respectively. The remainder was predominantly segregated aggregates (7%) and non-Metallic wastes (3%).

Management of waste

In relation to how these wastes were managed, an estimated:

  • 2.5 million tonnes or 73% was recycled
  • 511 thousand tonnes or 14.9% was prepared for re-use offsite
  • 213 thousand tonnes or 6.2% was disposed of via landfill
  • 53 thousand tonnes or 1.6% was sent for other recovery
  • 52 thousand tonnes or 1.5% was composted
  • 19 thousand tonnes or 0.6% was sent for incineration
  • 12 thousand tonnes or 0.3% was sent for land recovery
  • The remainder - 61 thousand tonnes or 1.7% - was classified as ‘other’

The most significant material reported as sent to landfill was soil indicating that there are further opportunities to improve recovery of this material within the construction and demolition sectors.

Hazardous waste

An estimated 116 thousand tonnes of hazardous waste was generated by construction and demolition sectors in 2019 out of a total waste generation of 3.4 million tonnes (3%).

By material, the majority of hazardous wastes was made up of soil (42%) and aggregate wastes (41%), accounting for 49kt and 48kt respectively.

By sub-sector, Construction of Highways, Roads, Airfields and Sport Facilities accounted for 63 kt (55%), with the second largest proportion from the Construction of Civil Engineering Constructions sector, with 24 kt (20%).

By waste management method the majority of hazardous waste was reported as Landfilled (52 kt).

Download the report

Wales construction and demolition waste arising survey 2019

Contact for technical appendices.

Results from all surveys are subject to limitations with respect to the quality of estimates produced. Whilst these limitations do not alter the results or the statistical data presented in the report, they should be borne in mind by users of the data.

Information on waste management in the report is generally reliable but the accuracy of the results is limited to information available to surveyed producers on the final destinations of their waste. The accuracy is limited owing to the complexities of waste management routes and difficulties linking final fate back to source.

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