Currently, more than half of all materials extracted globally (over three billion tonnes/year in the EU only) are transformed for use in construction. The EU aims to reduce the environmental impact of the construction sector by recycling or re-using large amounts of these materials, thus reducing the consumption of raw materials and helping promote the sector’s economic stability. Construction and demolition waste (CDW) has been identified by the Commission as a priority waste stream due to the huge amounts generated (around 850 Mt/year) and its high potential for re-use and recycling. 

CDW usually comes in a complex and mixed form that is very difficult to recycle. Currently, the main option for CWD disposal is landfill. However, the construction materials manufacturing industry produces considerable amounts of ceramic-based waste as production process scraps and waste that is not recycled in large volumes at present. But Europe still lacks structured networks for the collection and re-use of CDW and manufacturing waste in a formal value chain (as is the case of glass or metal waste).

The general objective of the LIFE ECO TILES project is to contribute to the achievement of EU 2020 goals on waste and resource efficiency, reducing emissions, waste, impacts on human health and the environment. To this end, LIFE ECO TILES will adopt a life-cycle approach, enabling the identification of all possible improvements throughout the product’s life-cycle stages.

Specific objectives are to:

Demonstrate an innovative methodology that integrates promising research results to produce a new generation of tiles made almost entirely (up to 70%) with recycled materials and with substantially lower environmental impacts compared to current best-in-market products. Main innovations are related to: the creation of pozzolan cement made with CDW and/or construction waste precursors (15% weight of the tile); the substitution of aggregates with recycled glass (around. 50-60% of total weight); the production of high-grade precast products; and the adaptation of a patented low-energy production process (less than 20% compared to current state of the art);

Demonstrate using a set of well-designed testing and validation activities on 300 m2 of demo products the improved environmental performance in the production process of precast products, through the re-use and recycling of several streams of urban waste as well as lower energy consumption;

Build and maintain a collection and valorisation network in the Marche region (with a focus on CDW, production of building material and glass), including fostering of green public procurement; and

Increase awareness of the improved eco-innovative solutions among the general public, policy-makers and in the European industry, focusing on the environmental and economic advantages as well as on the technical feasibility of innovations such as LIFE ECO TILES.

Expected results: LIFE ECO TILES project will:

Design, implement, fine-tune and optimise a series of three versions of industrial precast-products (Terrazzo tiles) with up to 70% content of recycled CDW building materials (mainly ceramics) and glass waste;

Adapt and engineer a low-energy industrial process able to manufacture the recycled Terrazzo tiles on an industrial scale, consuming 20% less than traditional processes;

Produce of 300 m2 of demo products (equating to an average of 6-8 000 sample products of different sizes and shapes) maintaining and potentially improving mechanical and structural characteristics compared to current products made with virgin materials. In particular, an improvement of crucial performances (i.e. resistance to abrasion and moisture absorption), is expected;

Facilitate the recycling of up to 450 t/year of CDW and construction materials scrap and 3 000 t/year of glass waste, with a potential of around 1 000 times more in Europe if applied to a share of all pre-casted products;

Produce four protocols for testing and selecting the best waste materials to realise recycled pre-casted products;

Carry out a technical evaluation of the demonstration and monitoring of performance; environmental monitoring (including full LCA); market/stakeholders impacts (including two market replication scenarios);

Obtain a reduction of production times and costs, thus demonstrating the applicability of recycled products in high-volume series in the Terrazzo tiles and pre-cast sector; and

Obtain at least 8-10 agreements with waste management companies and construction products for the building of a recycling chain at local level in the Marche region and beyond, in order to ensure a constant flow of waste feedstock.



Start Date: 2015-09-01/End Date:2018- 02-28

LIFE14 ENV/IT/000801
Unione Europea
Prof.ssa Eleonora Paris