Eco-efficiency assessment of technological innovations in high-grade concrete recycling

Chunbo Zhang, Mingming Hu*, L. Dong, Abraham Gebremariam, Brenda Mirand-Xicotencatl, Francesco Di Maio, Arnold Tukker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)
101 Downloads (Pure)


The increasing volume of Construction and demolition waste (CDW) associated with economic growth is posing challenges to the sustainable management of the built environment. The largest fraction of all the CDW generated in the member states of the European Union (EU) is End-of-life (EOL) concrete. The most widely applied method for EOL concrete recovery in Europe is road base backfilling, which is considered low-grade recovery. The common practice for high-grade recycling is wet process that processes and washes EOL concrete into clean coarse aggregate for concrete manufacturing. It is costly. As a result, a series of EU projects have been launched to advance the technologies for high value-added concrete recycling. A critical environmental and economic evaluation of such technological innovations is important to inform decision making, while there has been a lack of studies in this field. Hence the present study aimed to assess the efficiency of the technical innovations in high-grade concrete recycling, using an improved eco-efficiency analytical approach by integrating life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC). Four systems of high-grade concrete recycling were analyzed for comparison: (i) business-as-usual (BAU) stationary wet processing; (ii) stationary advanced dry recovery (ADR); (iii) mobile ADR; (iv) mobile ADR and Heating Air Classification (A&H). An overarching framework was proposed for LCA/LCC-type eco-efficiency assessment conforming to ISO standards. The study found that technological routes that recycle on-site and produce high-value secondary products are most advantageous. Accordingly, policy recommendations are proposed to support the technological innovations of CDW management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-663
Number of pages15
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Concrete recycling
  • Construction and demolition waste
  • Eco-efficiency assessment
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Life cycle costing
  • Technological innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'Eco-efficiency assessment of technological innovations in high-grade concrete recycling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this