Circularity in Selected EU Countries: The Case of Construction and Demolition Industry.

N Dytianquin et al 2021.
IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 855 012017.

The construction and demolition industry (CDI) became a priority area for the EU circular economy
as the industry has the largest waste stream by volume. Most of the CDI waste, however, ends up in incinerators
for energy production or as downcycled content for road surfaces despite its enormous potential for recycling and
reuse. This study focuses on the application of circularity in the CDI. We recognize that the construction industry
provides a prominent decision context for studying circularity since many scrap materials resulting from
demolished buildings and houses could be recycled, reused and refurbished in newly constructed edifices from
foundation to rooftops. Adopting the fundamental circularity concepts, the study intends to compare how selected
countries as early adopters of circularity in the EU apply distinct concepts of the circular economy in the CDI.
The study investigates the manner circularity in CDI is achieved in the selected countries using determinants for
project success in integrating the three dimensions of sustainability to identify and determine best practices. These
determinants are: 1) stage of circularity as described in the waste hierarchy and circularity ladder, 2) building
design principles, 3) life cycle stages specific to construction, and 4) availability and extent of policy or strategy
on circularity in the EU countries where the selected projects are located. The EU countries covered are: the
Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, and Denmark who are among the top 10 waste generators in Western
Europe. The projects chosen are: (i) Superlocal project in the Netherlands; (ii) the Circular Retrofit Lab (CRL)
project in Belgium; (iii) Open Air Library in Germany; (iv) Rehafutur Engineer’s House project in France; and
(v) Upcycle Studios in Denmark.

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