Recyclable asphalt waste


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Asphalt waste is a waste product generated during the replacement of road surfaces, which can be used, for instance, for roadside hardening. The Minister of Climate and Environment has signed a regulation to clarify the conditions for losing the waste status for asphalt waste so that it can be reused in new mineral and asphalt mixes as a partial substitute for aggregate. The change in the regulations will make it possible to manage the generated road rubble and allow savings on road upgrades, which over the next few years could amount to as much as PLN 400m.

The regulation of the Minister of Climate and Environment is the result of two years of work and cooperation with the construction industry and the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways (GDDKiA). Thanks to the new regulation, the regulatory burden on entrepreneurs will be reduced. This, in turn, will contribute to the simplification of administrative procedures related to obtaining permits for reusing materials classified as construction waste. The new regulation takes into account the PN-EN 13108-8:2016-07 standard, which sets out the requirements for the classification and characterisation of asphalt destructor as an essential material for mineral and asphalt mixtures.

The regulation will not apply to asphalt road decomposition obtained through a milling process. Asphalt produced in this way is recycled on-site using special machinery which makes it possible to mill and pave at the same time. Thanks to this process, no waste is produced.

The new draft of the Minister for Climate and the Environment will enter into force 14 days after the date of publication, except for Section 5. This provision will enter into force 12 months after the date of publication to allow those who own asphalt waste to prepare for the implementation of the regulation.

Asphalt waste in recycling

Asphalt waste collected during the renovation or construction of new roads contains around 95% aggregate. This means that it is a high-quality material that can be reused in newly laid asphalt mixtures as a partial substitute for aggregate. It can also be used to harden shoulders, road foundations and for the construction of service roads, access roads and exits. The regulations that have been in force so far, limited the possibility of recycling asphalt waste.

It is worth noting that the rehabilitation of 10 km of a two-lane motorway, during which the wearing course is replaced, generates 23 thousand tonnes of asphalt rubble of the highest quality aggregate. The rehabilitation of the wearing course for expressways is performed regularly every 12-15 years.

The volume of asphalt waste produced

According to the data of the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways (GDDKiA), in 2018-2019, local governments received about 35,000 tonnes of asphalt waste. The same amount of material was used for pavement and roadside construction, while approximately 15,000 tonnes were secured for the current maintenance of roadsides. Around 10,000 tonnes were sold through a tender.

The amount of produced waste was over 160 thousand tonnes, of which about 72 thousand tonnes remained unused. It is worth noting that GDDKiA data does not include the amount of material produced and owned by the contractors.

According to the GDDKiA’s assumptions, the asphalt waste produced during the milling process will be used for the construction of 1/3 of the length of tasks from two road modernization programs: Programme for the Construction of National Roads for 2014-2023 and Programme for the Construction of 100 Ring Roads for 2020-2030. The State Treasury estimates that the savings thus obtained will amount to approximately PLN 400m, while an additional PLN 40m savings will be related to lower costs of transporting aggregate to the construction site.

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