Against Increasing Waste Production
Safe Disposal of Hazardous Construction Materials
Annually, more than 700,000 tons of building rubble arise during demolition work in Baden-Württemberg alone. This rubble includes large amounts of artificial mineral fibers. They are mostly hazardous to health and have to be transported to special landfills over large distances. Use of the mobile compact press developed by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) helps protect the environment and minimize costs.
Artificial mineral fibers are excellently suited for the thermal insulation of buildings. During demolition, however, the mineral wool causes so far unsolved problems. “Spent artificial mineral fiber products produced before the year 2000 sometimes emit fine dust that is highly hazardous to health. Hence, these materials have to be transported to special landfills and disposal facilities. Transportation distances often amount to several hundred kilometers, also in Baden-Württemberg,” Dr. Harald Schneider of the KIT Institute for Technology and Management in Construction (TMB) explains. So far, there has been no possibility to effectively compact the light material without dust pollution. When transporting artificial mineral fibers, only about 40% of the total permissible tonnage of trucks can be utilized.
A press for compaction of artificial mineral fibers developed by the TMB in cooperation with industry partners promises to result in eco-logical and economic advantages. The scientists succeeded in inte-grating a specially constructed screw compactor into a special standardized roll-off container. “The mobile facility may be set up by disposal companies at collection points or directly near larger demolition sites,” Schneider says. He is responsible for the development of the mobile facility. In this way, disposal companies can compact the wastes directly at a ratio of more than 10:1 compared to the initial material. This does not only reduce the costs for disposal on the landfill, but also pollutant emissions during transportation. Given the fact that in Germany alone about 120,000 tons of hazardous artificial mineral fiber wastes are produced annually, the potential for reducing costs is enormous. Waste production is increasing, as many buildings insulated with artificial mineral fibers will reach the end of their service lives in the near future.
The new facility also has big advantages with respect to industrial safety and health protection. The fine dusts that are highly hazard-ous to health are removed by an integrated extraction system, such that operation takes place without any dust emission. The compaction product is packaged dust-proof for further shipping and trans-portation. The facility is planned to reach its maturity in the next months. (ps/jow)
More information on ERDF funding is given at: www.rwb-efre.baden-wuerttemberg.de