Comparative environmental evaluation of construction waste management through different waste sorting systems in Hong Kong

Md Uzzal Hossain, Zezhou Wu, Chi Sun Poon

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)


Life cycle assessment (LCA) approach was applied to evaluate the performance of CWM systems holistically based on primary data collected from two real building construction sites and secondary data obtained from the literature. Different waste recovery rates were applied based on compositions and material flow to assess the influence on the environmental performance of CWM systems. The system boundary includes all stages of the life cycle of building construction waste (including transportation, sorting, public fill or landfill disposal, recovery and reuse, and transformation and valorization into secondary products). A substitutional LCA approach was applied for capturing the environmental gains due to the utilizations of recovered materials. The results showed that the CWM system by using off-site sorting and direct landfilling resulted in significant environmental impacts. However, a considerable net environmental benefit was observed through an on-site sorting system. For example, about 18–30 kg CO2eq. greenhouse gases (GHGs) emission were induced for managing 1 t of construction waste through off-site sorting and direct landfilling, whereas significant GHGs emission could be potentially avoided (considered as a credit −126 to −182 kg CO2eq.) for an on-site sorting system due to the higher recycling potential. Although the environmental benefits mainly depend on the waste compositions and their sortability, the analysis conducted in this study can serve as guidelines to design an effective and resource-efficient building CWM system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-335
Number of pages11
JournalWaste Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Building construction waste
  • Environmental evaluation
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Waste sorting systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal


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