CSE welcomes MoEFCC notification on use of construction and demolition waste; Would like to see a clear mechanism for stringent implementation of Rules

  • CSE welcomes first-ever notification of the construction and demolition waste management rules, 2016, by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change 

  • This was urgently needed as cities are choking on construction and demolition waste with serious environmental and public health consequences

  • The next step is to create a clear mechanism for stringent and scaled-up implementation in cities for improved collection, segregation and handling of waste; decentralised collection and recycling centres; penalty for littering; lower taxes on recycled products and public awareness

  • Make developers responsible and accountable for good construction practices, onsite segregation of waste, reuse and disposal; and impose waste tax to minimize waste-generation.

New Delhi March 30, 2016:  Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has welcomed the first-ever notification on construction and demolition waste management rules, 2016, by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change.  This is a significant step forward as construction and demolition of buildings generates enormous waste – about half of all materials used – that degrades the land and the environment. A CSE analysis has estimated that as much as 530 million tonnes of construction and demolition (C&D) waste is generated annually. The C&D waste is inert but bulky. It is either dumped in city landfills or in open spaces, water bodies and flood plains.

The new notification creates the legal framework for recycle and reuse of C&D waste in the construction industry. The analysis said that Indian cities needed immediate solutions to recycle and reuse this waste to substitute material mined from nature and prevent damage to water bodies, public spaces and green areas. C&D waste is one of the main contributors to dust pollution in cities like Delhi.

This problem is only expected to grow as two-thirds of the buildings that India will have in 2030 are yet to be built. The environmental cost will only compound with the anticipated construction boom, unless immediate steps are taken to recycle and reuse construction waste and turn it into a resource. Until now, C&D waste found a brief mention in the Schedule III of the rule for separate collection in the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) (MSWM) Rules, 2000. This was extremely inadequate. 

CSE has found the new rules to be comprehensive. They clearly define the roles of all stakeholders: waste generator or developer, local authorities, centre and state governments, pollution control boards, standard-making agencies and recyclers. The big task will be to get these rules implemented and appropriate resources (financial and human power) allocated to local authorities. This will also require scaling up of capacity-building and recycling infrastructure. 

The key highlights of the new notification on C&D waste:

Mandates use of recycled of products in construction:  Local bodies will have to utilise 10-20 per cent of material from C&D waste in municipal and government contracts for construction. All cities will have to set up facilities in a phased manner.

All large developers are accountable for collection and disposal of C&D waste: All large generators of waste will have to pay charges for transportation, collection, processing and disposal. They will be responsible for segregating construction and demolition waste before disposal. All large waste-generators need environment management plan.

The Bureau of Indian Standards needs to prepare a code of practice and standards for products of construction and demolition waste: This is a critical intervention. Currently, though a number of innovative and cost-effective recycled building materials, components and construction techniques have been developed, Indian housing and building agencies have not adopted them in their construction practices because of policy hurdles. Lack of standardisation, not listing these techniques and material in Indian Standard Codes and/or Schedule of Rates, poor policy push and lack of awareness are the key barriers.

Indian Road Congress needs to prepare standards and practices pertaining to products of construction and demolition waste in road construction 

Local authorities to give appropriate incentives to waste generators for salvaging, processing, and recycling, preferably in-situ: This is an important intervention that would need detailing with tax and pricing measures in cities. Several countries globally are utilising fiscal measure to promote in-situ recycling, safe disposal and reuse of C&D waste. 

Recycling facilities will have to be created at a safe distance from habitation with adequate buffer zone

Local authorities to established a database and update it once in a year

Next steps: Scale up action

While welcoming the move, CSE states that this legal mandate must result in implementation quickly in cities for scalable impact. CSE’s review has shown that the total C&D waste generated by buildings alone in 2013 would have been to 531 million tonnes, about 50 times higher than existing official estimate. If C&D waste generated by infrastructure projects like road, dams, etc. is also added, India is already drowning in its C&D waste. There are bulk generators and small generators of waste which include demolished structures, renovations, as well as construction and repair of roads, flyovers, bridges, etc. In addition, enormous debris come from disaster-related destruction as is witnessed during events like earthquake and floods.

The new notification creates an opportunity to scale up the small steps that are being taken today to address reuse of C&D waste in cities. Some of the critical ongoing initiatives are as follows:

BIS must expedite the process of standardisation of recycled products: BIS does not prohibit using any new material in the absence of standards as the National Building Code says that authorities can take the initiative and permit any new material not covered by Indian Standards. But officials involved with the projects have been blaming the failure on the construction products standards of BIS that do not mention recycled C&D waste as a “suitable building material”.

To eliminate doubt regarding the suitability of C&D waste, BIS has already amended the IS:383, the BIS standard for aggregates (sand and stone used for making concrete) stipulates that originally concrete can be made only with “naturally accessed material”. The new standard IS383:2016 Coarse and Fine Aggregate For Concrete - Specification (Third Revision) has been published and notified in January, 2016. Construction agencies can now use this rule to part substitute natural sand and aggregate with recycled waste like C&D waste, steel slag, iron slag and copper slag. The amendment automatically allows use of recycled C&D waste in all products made out of concrete and reduces the need for subsequent amendments in other standards. To check unrestricted use of these options, the amendment spells out reasonable limitations in terms of the type or grade or application of such products.

CPWD has started using recycled C&D waste – needs to scale up: The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) is already using bricks and pavers made from recycled C&D waste from IEISL plant at Delhi for the construction of the Supreme Court campus extension. This is a drastic change in heart of an agency which in 2014 had informed Parliament that “C&D waste having no salvage value is disposed of at approved dumping sites as per municipal rules”. The National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd. (NBCC) also recycled all the C&D waste it generated in Government of India’s mega redevelopment of East Kidwai Nagar in New Delhi.

Delhi government has issued advisory on the use of products made out of recycled waste by the Public Works Department (PWD): It is acknowledged that processing of construction and demolition waste has a great potential to save urban space, reduce negative environmental impacts, conserve natural resources and address the shortage of building materials. The advisory has asked for use of such products as a first choice in all construction works. All Delhi government agencies will be required to incorporate a clause in their tenders that mandate use of a minimum of two per cent recycled products from construction waste in all future contracts for building works and 10 per cent recycled products for road works. It expects the urban local bodies to mandate 5 per cent use of such products for non-structural applications while examining and approving building plans. 

Delhi has demonstrated the potential of collection and recycling of C&D waste at Burari in Delhi. The state budget for 2016-17 has sanctioned three new C&D recycling plants. The products have been tested and found to be suitable for specific purposes.

Way forward

CSE recommends:

  • Notify a draft BIS code to legalise use of recycled material in concrete and enforce the standards

  • All cities to frame C&D policy and set up recycling facilities to promote efficient construction management practices to minimise waste. Make all developers liable and accountable 

  • Create a clear mechanism for stringent and scaled-up implementation in cities for improved collection, segregation and handling of waste; decentralised collection and recycling centres; penalty for littering; lower taxes on recycled products and public awareness. 

  • Make developers responsible and accountable for good construction practices, onsite segregation of waste, reuse and disposal; and impose waste tax to minimize waste generation.


For further information, please contact Anupam Srivastava, asrivastava@cseindia.org, 99100 93893