Amsterdam Schiphol opens its own concrete recycling plant

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has opened its own concrete recycling plant to reduce the CO2 emissions associated with transporting waste rubble to a facility off-site.

The new facility will crush old, used concrete from renovation and maintenance projects to make new concrete or foundation material, in collaboration with Heijmans and VolkerWessels Infra Schiphol.

The material will then be reused in construction projects at the airport as part of the gateway’s goal of becoming a waste-free airport by 2030.

“With this recycling facility, we close the concrete recycling circle on our own grounds,” says Schiphol’s asset management director, Sybren Hahn.

“Every year, 60,000 tonnes of concrete rubble is left over after renovations and maintenance works. We don’t simply throw it away. Now, we mix, break and crush the rubble so that it can be reused in all sorts of projects at Schiphol, such as aircraft stands. This is a substantial step towards circularity at the airport.

Own recycling facility

The recycling facility, where concrete rubble is also stored and sorted, is the size of two football pitches, with its foundation made from recycled rubble from Schiphol.

At this site, concrete rubble is broken into small chunks using large crushing units before mixing units turn it into recycled concrete products. All major construction partners at the airport can use the installations on the site, which is located on Zonnekruidweg at Schiphol Northwest, towards Badhoevedorp.

Reducing emissions 

Schiphol has been using recycled concrete for some time. Until recently, most concrete rubble was transported to a nearby crushing machine, or a machine was rented.

By processing and recycling concrete on their own grounds, the airport saves approximately 80,000 transport kilometres and the associated CO2 emissions every year.

In addition, the company’s own installations will soon run on electricity, while the machinery outside Schiphol ran on diesel. This also contributes to Schiphol’s goal of producing no emissions by 2030.

Circular demolition at the airport

The airport notes: “We reuse as much material as possible when demolishing old buildings. They are taken apart piece by piece so that a lot of the material can be recycled.

“Architects consider materials that are suitable for reuse in order to design buildings according to circular principles.

“An example is the removal of several offices and warehouses to make room for a dual taxiway. Almost 70% of the material left over from the demolitions was reused at Schiphol.”

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