Engineers take concrete steps in the war on waste

Engineers take concrete steps in the war on waste
By Euronews

We're used to buying products made from recycled plastic or cardboard. But what about living in a recycled home?

It's an intriguing concept and one that researchers in Spain and Italy are working on.

Euronews' Jeremy Wilks spoke to Umberto Battista of the Genoa-based engineering firm STAM. Here is his interview:

Euronews: "Could you recycle an entire city? That's the question we'd love to know the answer to here in Genova in Italy, and I'm here with expert Umberto Battista, who's from engineering company STAM. Could we recycle this whole city, all the stone, all the glass and all the metal that's here around us?"

Battista: "Yes. At least I mean probably we cannot achieve 100 percent of recycled material, but at least we can achieve 90 to 95 per cent. This is what we aim to get to with the RE4 European project."

Euronews: "If you were going to take apart this city, to dismantle it, talk me through the steps, how would you actually do that?"

Battista: "Well actually when you dismantle or demolish a building or a district in a city, first of all you're going to remove all key parts, or sub components or sub assemblies like windows, frames or fittings in some cases. And then at the end you're going to demolish the whole building as a whole. So at the very end you will have a big amount of raw materials, everything mixed up together, so what is the most difficult part then is to be able to distinguish between the raw materials in order to be able to recycle the proper ones."

Euronews: "What about the things that we see underneath our feet and in some of these buildings, like stone and marble. Can you recycle those?"

Battista: "If you had to build a new 'old-fashioned' building probably you could recycle or re-use totally the same pieces, the same parts. But since we are targeting to build new buildings then you need of course to chop the components, the parts, to make them re-usable somehow to new components for new buildings, like to develop new panels for walls, inner walls of buildings, roofs, and in that case you cannot simply re-use marble or stone components as you can see here in the city."