Experts visit Chinese city profiting from reclaimed construction waste

21 May 2013

BEIJING: Government and industry experts joined a tour around the pioneering city of Dezhou last week, to better understand how China’s leading cities are becoming greener as their economies grow.

Low Carbon City Tour – Dezhou, was an opportunity for China’s top industry experts, NGOs, national and local government and media to analyze the city of Dezhou’s rapidly expanding low carbon economy.

A growing city

Dezhou is a major city in the Shandong province of China with a planned population estimated to hit 1.25 million and housing construction expected to reach 3.25 million square meters by the end of 2015.

To ensure this growth is as protective of resources and the environment as possible, city planners have funnelled resources into the region’s low carbon development. As building material resources are limited and the cost of importing them is high, growth has been most successful in the construction waste recycling market.

Waste recycling

During last week’s Tour of Dezhou, the delegation visited two renewable building materials factories that are the result of local government measures that established an improved system of approval, transport and disposal of construction waste recycling.

The government has also established ‘guarantee mechanisms’, bold incentives which have encouraged local companies to recognize the market value of construction waste resource recycling. There are now 40 construction brick waste lines in Dezhou.

Expert perspectives

At the seminar that accompanied the tour, Zhou Hongchun, Director, Research Department of Social Development, Development Research Center of the State Council, pointed out some highlights and recommendations around the city’s continued green growth: "In low carbon development, Dezhou city has a good grounding especially in solar energy, heat energy and other new energy utilization field. Energy saving and environmental protection products manufactured by some enterprises in Dezhou city (such as press, ground-source heat pump and so on), have good market prospects. In the field of construction waste recycling, relevant enterprises in Dezhou city should improve the technological content in products. To reduce the cost of production, the distance between the demolition site and the recycled construction building materials factory should be shortened and set the factory at a place close to the new construction site."

Offering advice on how the city could further develop the market by reducing secondary pollution, Gao Zhenjie, General Secretary, The National Committee of Construction Waste Management and Recycling, said: "The recycling and production of construction waste in Dezhou city is in a relatively leading position in the country. The Dezhou city government’s management and standards have achieved good results. Learning from Dezhou, we can and should set construction waste disposal in new areas. However, the secondary pollution caused by the regeneration of Dezhou manufacturers of building materials in the production process needs to be improved. The techniques are still very primitive and to achieve construction waste’s reclamation still needs time."

Low carbon progress

Li Jianyong, the Dean of the Research Institute of China ACM, added:"Dezhou's construction waste resource utilization has room for upgrade. In terms of technology, the upgrade direction includes developing muck and mud waste utilization technology and masonry construction waste in ready-mixed concrete. In terms of industrial upgrading and transformation, the development direction includes integrating the backward state of the industry, shutting down small and scattered workshops as well as high pollution and low technology enterprises, and forming a large-scale factory with the organic combination of construction waste disposal utilization and ready-mixed concrete production that uses much greener production processes. This would offer much stricter control over the secondary pollution produced by the construction waste disposal enterprises.”

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director, The Climate Group, said: "Urbanization is the theme of China's recent development. In recent years, The Climate Group has explored the obstacles and problems, challenges and opportunities on China's sustainable urban development. We now hope to boost China's urbanization by exploring and learning with even more of China’s cities.”

According to Xue Yanyan, Senior Manager of the China Redesign Project, The Climate Group, research has just been completed in Xuchang and Zhengzhou in Henan. Soon work will begin in Hangzhou, Shanghai, Baoding, Handan and other cities, that will continue exploring city construction waste recovery and utilization.

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