The School’s proposed framework for waste management earns international ‘Best Paper Award 2013’
A research team from UBC’s School of Engineering has won Best Paper of 2013, awarded by the international journal Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy.
“An overview of construction and demolition waste management in Canada: a lifecycle analysis approach to sustainability” was co-authored by post-doc student Muluken Yeheyis and four professors, Drs. Kasun Hewage, M. Shahria Alam, Cigdem Eskicioglu, and Rehan Sadiq. It was published in the journal’s February 2013 issue.
The paper is a proposed framework to best manage construction and demolition (C&D) waste to maximize the 3Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. It also proposes minimizing the disposal of construction waste by implementing sustainable and comprehensive strategy throughout the lifecycle of construction projects.
“This paper is an output of our collaborative work in the School of Engineering,” says Hewage, who specializes in construction management.
“It is a great outcome that a highly reputed international journal recognizes an intellectual contribution from UBC’s Okanagan campus.”
Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy, published by Springer Berlin Heidelberg, is one of the top environmental sciences journals in the world. Chosen by an independent review board, the publication’s first-time award for “Best Paper” is based on the number of citations and relevance to the field.
Alam, who specializes in smart materials and their structural applications, says the paper began as a group-brainstorming project to make Canada more sustainable, protecting public health and natural ecosystems.
“It was a way to combine and strategize our individual research,” he says. “By doing so, we realized a direction for the School’s research and created a guiding document with practical strategies for industry.”
The proposal responds to the fact that more than 75 per cent of what the construction industry generates as waste has a residual value, and therefore could be recycled, salvaged and/or reused.
“For this multidimensional problem, we have a multidisciplinary team,” says Sadiq, whose expertise in the areas of civil and environmental engineering includes modelling and risk assessment.
Eskicioglu, an expert in biological treatment processes for waste minimization and waste-to-energy conversion, says construction and demolition waste generated by the Canadian construction industry accounts for more than 20 per cent of solid waste disposed in landfills—“which should be regarded as the last option.”
“The screening/waste-sorting process during demolition of highly complex structures is one of the main challenges, along with identification of alternative disposal options for the recycled material,” she says. “Therefore, in this paper, our team focused on identification of recycling/reusing options for both organic and inorganic waste material generated from construction and demolition activities.”
Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy publishes papers that aid in the development, demonstration, and commercialization of cleaner products and processes, as well as effective environmental policy strategies. It also offers policy-oriented commentaries from world-renowned leaders in environmental technology and policy research.
Springer Berlin Heidelberg is among the world’s foremost science, technology, and medicine publishers, with more than 200 Nobel Prize winners among its book and journal authors.