A circular economy involves keeping resources in use for as long as possible by extracting the maximum value of materials and recovering the materials through re-use and recycling.
In construction, introducing circular economy principles requires designing out waste, reducing the volume of unsustainable materials consumed and maximising the value of materials used. This will help to preserve the environment as well as driving financial savings by reducing the cost of handling and disposing of waste.
Ways in which circular economy principles can be implemented might include:
- Conducting Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) on the plastics and packaging consumed on site to determine how sustainable the plastics and packaging used on site actually are.
- Considering the value and life cycle of materials throughout the design, specification, procurement and construction process to avoid waste disposal to landfill.
- Specifying the reduction of unsustainable plastics and packaging, and choosing recyclable or re-usable alternatives.
- Establishing waste reduction, re-use and recycling targets to reduce the amount of waste produced on site.
- Incorporating Building Information Modelling (BIM) to reduce waste through the management of information from different stakeholders.