Home Manufacturing The UK firms fixing China’s construction waste management problem

The UK firms fixing China’s construction waste management problem

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In China in 2018, only 10% of construction waste was reused or recycled compared to 90% in the EU, and over 40% of the world’s mobile crushers and screening machines are produced in Northern Ireland: here’s how NI manufacturers are helping China achieve a circular economy

Northern Ireland is a globally recognised centre for the design and manufacture of material handling equipment, specifically, mobile crushing, screening, conveying and washing equipment for the mining, quarrying, construction and resource recovery industry. Over 40% of the world’s mobile crushers and screening machines are produced in Northern Ireland.

launchpad CBBC

This equipment has an important role to play in helping to achieve a circular economy by processing construction and demolition waste and turning it into materials that can be reused for other construction and infrastructure projects. This is key in a country like China, where the construction industry is expected to record an annual growth rate of 6.4% up until 2025.

At the same time, according to EnvGuide, the amount of construction and demolition waste produced in China has increased from 0.470 billion tons in 2006 to 3.037 billion tons in 2020, and this figure may exceed 4 billion tons by 2026. Despite this, many Chinese cities lack the equipment needed to process these waste byproducts, meaning that in 2018, only 10% of construction waste was reused or recycled compared to 90% in the EU.

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Under the Chinese government’s “dual carbon” goals (reaching peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060), there are big development opportunities to be had as China develops a more circular economic model. China is well aware of the problems noted above, and the growing construction waste treatment industry will turn waste into valuable materials that can be reused time and again, and mobile crushers and other machines have great advantages in this regard.

China will undoubtedly be one of the largest potential markets for waste recycling in the coming years. It presents enormous business opportunities.
— Damon Peng, Materials Handling China: Sector Head, Invest NI

As of 2020, China’s mobile crusher market had grown from less than 100 units five years ago to nearly 2,000 units. The demand for mobile crushing and screening equipment in China is likely to see exponential growth over the next five to 10 years.

Recently, three top Northern Irish manufacturers of mobile crushers and other material handling equipment, Anaconda, McCloskey International and Tesab Engineering, have entered the Chinese market, helped by Invest Northern Ireland (a CBBC member company).

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McCloskey was one of the first crawler-track crusher brands to successfully enter the Chinese market back in 2015 and has since built up a strong customer base. Now, the company is poised to build on its existing success by developing a nationwide distribution network in China.

In order to reduce production costs and enhance its competitiveness against local Chinese brands, McCloskey now plans to work with its parent company, Metso Outotec, to manufacture its equipment locally in China. It will also use Metso Outotec’s resources to establish an after-sales network distributing machine parts and offering technical support and training to local dealers.  

Widely renowned as aggregate crushing specialists, Tesab Engineering has also had a presence in China for more than five years. Tesab is focused on offering “built to last” solutions that offer exceptional value for money — key in an industry that is growing quickly and always looking to cut costs. For example, its solutions for aggregate production generate a high percentage of single passes through the machine, reducing cost per ton. 

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A version of this article first appeared in Chinese on the WeChat account 今日工程机械 and was republished by CBBC China on WeChat

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