- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 01 Sep 2020
The latest buzz words in the market are 'circular economy'. Given the phenomenal rise of circular economy thinking in recent years, the waste hierarchy as it stands may no longer be a valid starting point for business.
'Business as usual' sees contractors and the supply chain following the waste hierarchy; reduce, reuse and recycle, to a greater or lesser extent. But the concept of the circular economy goes beyond the 3 R's and aims to maximise total material resource efficiency.
The traditional 'linear' model preaches the concept of 'make, break, and discard'. The circular economy is a concept in which everything is engineered to be constantly reused or recycled. It requires rethinking of design, manufacturing, selling, re-using, recycling and consumer ownership to keep resources in use for as long as possible and to extract maximum value.
There is massive economic advantage for businesses adopting a circular economy. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) calculates profit of up to £23 billion per year for UK businesses through low cost or no cost improvements and McKinsey estimates a global value of $3.7 trillion per year (ref. WRAP).
The Dutch are hot favourites in the race to becoming a circular economy and Japan has already shown a huge success in changing their linear manufacturing and consumption system into a more circular, collaborative system. The approach adopted by Japan is highly effective and contributes a significant proportion of the country's GDP, employing hundreds of thousands of people.
As the EU set new, challenging waste targets and reviews proposals to ban sending plastics, wood, textiles and food to landfill, the circular economy may be the answer to our resource and employment challenges.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- 5 things leaders can do to create a truly circular economy.
- A social, circular economy.
- Blockchains will change construction.
- BREEAM Construction waste management.
- Building Revolutions - review.
- Cement and concrete companies release 2050 Climate Ambition.
- Circular economy - transforming the worlds number one consumer of raw materials.
- Construction waste.
- Cradle to cradle product registry system.
- Design for deconstruction.
- Economic sustainability.
- End of life potential.
- Green supply chain management.
- Impact of the sharing economy on construction craft labour and equipment markets.
- Life cycle.
- Recyclable construction materials.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle.
- Renewable energy.
- Reused construction products.
- Sustainable materials.
- Waste management plan.
- Waste management plan for England.
Featured articles and news
Eight forms of resource optimisation.
CIOB responds to Chancellor Sunak's announcement on jobs and the economy.
Revised guide to competition rules available.
Brick slip soffit systems and intricate brick features.
An innovative engineering approach could have had tragic consequence for NYC.
Some secrets behind how canals work.
Breaking down possible steps of pre-contract management.
ICE event includes comments from Welsh Government Minister Julie James.
How to write them and what they should include.
Designing Buildings Wiki becomes the world's first website to adopt the new knowledge standard.
Assessing the most beneficial design elements.
Exploring different types of vinyl flooring.