Cyprus’ goal is to recycle 70 per cent of construction and demolition waste, Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis said on Friday.

Speaking at a conference on a robotic method used to separate waste from construction and demolition part of the DEFEAT programme, Kadis said that the programme is implemented by Frederick University in collaboration with the environment department, the federation of building contractors associations of Cyprus and several other private bodies.

“It aims to develop a composite material from construction and demolition waste,” he said.

He said that this material will be fire-resistant, characterised by low thermal conductivity and suitable mechanical and fireproof properties, and will be able to be used in the facade, either in existing or in new buildings, with obvious benefits and advantages both in terms of fire safety and in terms of energy efficiency.

The minister added that as part of the programme, an innovative robotic method of separating construction and demolition waste was developed, through a detailed experimental study and on a pilot scale.

Congratulating the prototype’s inventors, the minister noted that even in the most modern of construction waste units, separation is done manually without the benefit of cutting-edge technologies such as those incorporated in the DEFEAT project.

“Today, through presentations by reputable speakers, we will have the opportunity to learn about the methodological approach that was applied to the design and implementation of this method, as well as how it works,” he said.

In the EU, he said that construction and demolition waste represents about a third of the total, amounting to approximately three billion tonnes of waste produced annually by economic activities and by households.

Currently each year, approximately 2.2 million tonnes of excavation, construction and demolition waste is generated in Cyprus, with 57 per cent of this ending up in landfills. The goal is to turn some of this rubble into a useful composite material, in line with the EU’s green deal circular economy aspirations, the minister said.

He added: “For this reason, the European Commission has prioritised the promotion of the circular management of said waste in the member states of the union.”

Kadis also said that in Cyprus the ambitious European targets for increasing sorting at the source and recycling and reusing materials have been adopted.

“Especially for construction and demolition waste, the goal is to recycle at least 70 per cent of this waste,” he said.

Kadis added that ministry is encouraging the private sector to create construction and demolition waste management facilities, resulting in their number increasing from two facilities in 2016 to 11.