Business proposes the efficient use of industrial waste instead of its accumulation
The European Business Association has long advocated the introduction of a circular economy in Ukraine. One of the most important principles of this economic system is transforming waste into resources.
When we talk about recyclables, we usually refer to solid waste, such as waste paper, glass, plastic, and so on. The recycling of industrial waste, which accounts for 97% of the annual volume of waste generated in Ukraine, is the issue that has been long ignored. And this is not reasonable because the recycling of industrial waste has great potential and is proven by the best international practices.
Slag and ash-slag recycling is a modern global trend in the circular economy. Besides its economic feasibility, this approach will also reduce the size of industrial waste dumps and prevent the emergence of the new ones. Furthermore, it will reduce the consumption of sand and gravel, as well as their extraction and production in the long run.
In Europe, up to 90% of slag and 43% of ash slag from the total annual volume generated, are reused in construction, asphalting of roads, etc. And some EU countries, as well as New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and Japan, are already recycling more than 100% of this waste, thus reducing the leftovers.
In Ukraine, about 40-50% of metallurgical slag is being reused, while the reuse of ash and slag materials does not exceed 30%. This waste can be a high-quality and cheap substitute for non-renewable primary raw materials in road construction and production of construction materials. According to EBA estimates, for the construction of roads under the presidential program “Large Construction” in 2020, the replacement of 30% of gravel with slag materials will save 420 million UAH of budget funds. Thus, when replacing 30% of materials with ash slag, budget savings could potentially exceed UAH 500 million.
After a thorough analysis of the market of industrial waste in Ukraine, the EBA Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Development Committee would like to offer 8 solutions for the rational use of wastes.
1) to develop a regulatory framework for the termination procedure of the waste status for metallurgical slag and ash-slag materials;
2) to expand the environmental requirements for public procurement, in particular, the field of road management;
3) to modernize building codes and other state standards with mandatory use of recycled industrial waste in design and construction;
4) to develop and implement a compensation mechanism for the transportation costs of large-capacity industrial waste;
5) to provide tax benefits or state preferential loans for companies that use secondary raw materials and are engaged in its procurement;
6) to promote the construction of cement concrete roads (especially in areas with heavy loads) using secondary raw materials;
7) to develop and implement a simple mechanism for replacing natural materials with the similar recycled ones in existing projects, as well as in new construction and repair of roads (capital, medium and current repairs);
8) to strengthen the norms (recommendations) on the preference of secondary materials in public procurement until the gradual introduction of their mandatory use in the works and services conducted in areas up to 200 km from metallurgical plants and thermal power plants.
Implementing the principles of the circular economy and increasing the use of waste as a secondary raw material is a prerequisite for sustainable development. The leading countries of the world support the development of waste recycling industries, stimulate the use of slag in the construction of buildings, bridges, and roads. Ukraine needs a consistent state policy for the implementation of circular economy practices.
Therefore, the European Business Association hopes that in the near future the government and business will be able to take the first steps in implementing the principles of the circular economy in Ukraine.