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Circular Economy Opportunities in the Construction Sector (2017)

We commissioned a review of potential opportunities for circular economy approaches in the construction sector.

Priority opportunities identified were as follows:

  1. Modular design, (including design for deconstruction and material passports);
  2. Circular timber in construction;
  3. Circular aggregates (including concrete, brick, soils and stones);
  4. Structural steel and aluminium reuse;
  5. Closed loop and lean design and construction for plasterboard;
  6. Making retrofit and refurbishment (including repair and maintenance) more circular;
  7. Large infrastructure and regeneration projects – circular scoping studies, material banks/ reuse hubs;
  8. Improving building utilisation and usage.

The research has helped shape Zero Waste Scotland’s strategic planning for the construction sector by prioritising the biggest opportunities. The research considers a number of factors namely:

  • How circular economy principles can be applied;
  • Relevance to Scotland - based on current Government policies and strategies, construction subsectors, planned project pipeline, building types and priority construction materials;
  • Potential impact – identifying existing evidence base of the impact of applying these principles;
  • Feasibility - including existing barriers, market demand, practicalities, and any regulatory aspects;
  • Scalability and spread - identifying where there are opportunities for learnings to be applied across other subsectors or materials;
  • Key interventions - required to embed these principles into Scotland’s construction sector.

While the research is made available, it is not intended for use by the construction sector in its current format.

Zero Waste Scotland offers free support for the construction sector funded by Scottish Government and European Regional Development Funds.

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