Apart from mining waste, construction and demolition waste represents the largest waste segment in statistical terms. In 2003, for example, some 222 million tonnes of such waste were generated. The waste often comprises a mixture of mineral waste, woods, metals, paper and plastic, some of which may be contaminated with hazardous substances.
In a voluntary commitment of 1996, the German construction industry promised the Federal Environment Ministry that it would "halve the quantity of recyclable construction waste currently being landfilled by the year 2005". At the present time, around 87 percent of the excavated material (that is 186 million tonnes) and 70 percent of construction waste (that is 51 million tonnes) in Germany is recovered; this category is particularly significant in terms of its mass. As such, the recovery ratios promised in the voluntary commitment can be considered to have been met.