Reducing the withdrawal of materials and the impact of quarries on the landscape is an important issue in our country, as there are many serious wounds still open in our regions.  It is now possible to respond to these problems, as demonstrated by the many countries where the quantity of materials extracted has been diminishing for years with a strong push toward the reuse of aggregate and inert wastes coming from recovery, as well as toward rules on the protection of the landscape and the management of activities.  In Italy there are currently 2,500 inert quarries and at least 15,000 that have been abandoned, of which over half are former sand and gravel quarries.  Changing this situation, and opening a green economy line that produces research, innovation and jobs is in the interest of the system of businesses and the environment.

The objective of the Recycle Observatory promoted by Legambiente is to share and deepen the innovation that is already underway in the recycled aggregate production sector.  This process is currently also driven by Directive 2008/98/CE, which provides the objective that 70% of construction and demolition wastes be recycled by 2020.  One point should be carefully underlined – there are no longer technical, performance or economic reasons not to use materials coming from construction recycling.  The experiences described in the “Recycle: the challenge in the construction sector” report, which can be downloaded below, describe sites and specifications where these innovations have already been carried out, demonstrating how if reference is made to codified standards based on performance, the materials from the recycling and recovery of aggregates are absolutely competitive in technical terms as well as in terms of price.

The proposals that we have presented with the special tender specification RECYCLE, which was drawn up by Legambiente in collaboration with Ecopneus, Atecap and Eco.Men, are in this direction, and have the objective of stimulating contracting authorities to undertake the path already set by Europe.  The objective is to use this instrument to contribute to a “full immersion” in the various specifications that exist (there are hundreds of them, and it is impossible to replace them with a single specification) in order to introduce the correct and updated regulatory references that allow the barriers and discriminations that currently exist to be overcome.

From the experience of Val Venosta, to the ring road of Venaria and Borgaro in the province of Turin, from the Variante di Canali (RE) to the Brennero highway, just to mention a few examples, asphalts modified with rubber recycled from end-of-life tyres are one of the protagonists in this transition toward a sustainable model for the use of resources.