Optimizing the recovery of construction waste

© SUEZ / ABACA PRESS / Kristian Gehradte

An interview with Marie-Dominique Bogo, SUEZ’s project manager, Recycling & Recovery France, as part of Future of Waste’s « Archiwaste » program.

Hello, Mrs Bogo. My name is Antoine Delaunay Belleville, and I am the community developer of the Future of Waste community, the international mobilisation program created by MakeSense and SUEZ to promote and develop solutions for waste prevention, reuse and recycling. Every six months, we develop a themed campaign aiming to encourage or accelerate sector-specific transformations, and in 2017 we have been working on construction waste.


Can you present your career path?

My name is Marie-Dominique Bogo. First, I worked for Danone in the production of glass products, which taught me about industry and distribution. Seventeen years ago, I joined SUEZ as director of an operational agency in Lyon, before moving to headquarter in Paris to develop new chains leading to the creation of the recycling division. As part of this work, I contributed to the creation of two companies, one to recycle WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and the other to create a pilot site for the industrial dismantling of ELVs (End-of-Life Vehicles). After seven years in marketing management for the recycling and recovery activity in France, I moved into managing disruptive projects and establishing new business models.

What has been your contribution to moving the vehicle scrapping industry towards dismantling?

In the 2000s, new regulations on ELVs were introduced, setting a recovery target for industry stakeholders of 95% by 2015. At the same time we reinforced our participation in Indra, and then in 2005 we created ReSource Engineering, with which we set up a pilot program for dismantling, with the aim of moving away from scrapping vehicles and towards reuse.

Part of our goal was to be able to offer a range of standardised vehicle parts. By reconstituting dismantling processes, we were able to show manufacturers the benefits of the approach we were undertaking.

What changes in the economic context have legitimised your experiments?

One of the effects of the 2008 financial crisis was to raise awareness of resource scarcity. That year, we carried out a joint venture with Renault under the guidance of SUEZ and Indra to develop a new business model, building on the Indra network and the professionalism of the dismantlers. Indra has ensured the secure management of ELVs for automobile dealerships, insurers etc. since its creation, and it now offers a range of standardised vehicle parts. It took about ten years to set up this standardisation and establish the use of spare parts taken from ELVs.

All this helped to drive the transformation of the vehicle scrapping sector towards dismantling and reuse, working hand-in-hand with industries and creating tools for inventory and selective dismantling and other relevant services. Parallels can be drawn with other sectors. For example, I think the construction industry today presents similar trends, both in its organisation and in the transformation of its model.

Your group is now mobilised to instigate the same changes in the construction sector?

SUEZ is of course present and active in this sector. We have offered solutions for the collection and treatment of non-hazardous waste, hazardous waste and excavated soil for several years. The stakeholder dynamic in the construction industry has led us to think differently in order to offer new stand-out solutions that are more relevant to their needs and the necessity of constantly recycling more and better.

We have thus carried out a number of surveys of our clients and prospects, leading us to structure SUEZ’s solutions around three client focuses: “Chantiers Flex” for small construction sites or requirements for flexibility; “Chantiers Pro” for clients wishing to develop a waste sorting approach with their clients ; and “Chantiers Verts” for players looking for a long-term environmental management solution for exemplary performance at the most complex construction sites.

At the same time, we worked with the Ideas Laboratory Open Lab and its partners on resource use, the issue of the circular economy and the transformation of the construction sector as part of the NextMat project. Our goal was to understand how to organise and optimise resource use, involving the whole chain of players in the circular economy, starting by identifying the products and materials found in buildings to be renovated or dismantled.

This included operating an experimental site with the Bouygues Rénovation Privée team and carrying out selective dismantling in a restricted space. On a 6,000 m² renovation site in the Paris region, we sorted floor by floor and collected separately nine flows of different materials with a single skip on the site while maintaining the balance between costs and deadlines and reducing the environmental impact. We achieved a recovery rate of nearly 75%, monitored using traceability tools. A great success!

The NextMat project enabled us to present the transformation of the ecosystem and the roles of the stakeholders involved, to demonstrate the essential need for collaboration between players, and finally to propose a new process for the management of construction sites. The project also underlined the importance of eco-design for the materials of the future at the building design phase and of taking the organisation of recovery, reuse and recycling into account from the earliest stages.

You proposed solutions to improve material recycling rates, but what about reuse?

Developing reuse requires to introduce new processes, such as selective decommissioning with appropriate dismantling, but also a precise identification of products and materials, as well as a new organization for marketing, based on digital technology.

A new model is emerging, and new players are stepping forward…
But as we saw in the automotive sphere, a real professional market for reused materials must be set up, with standards, clauses in public contracts, traceability etc. We are currently working on these subjects with our clients and professional organisations.

Many sectors are transforming to incorporate the challenges of the circular economy; SUEZ has organised itself to implement an innovative, relevant response using digital tools and advanced skills and technologies.


Antoine coordinates Future of Waste, the mobilization program created by MakeSense and SUEZ. He mobilizes citizens around social entrepreneurs who invent and implement solutions preventing and transforming waste.

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