Drivers and Demands for Circular Building Materials

PREFACE

Imagine a world without resource scarcity. A world where our human actions do not have a negative impact on our climate. Where we can cater to global demand without compromising mother earth. A world where waste no longer exists.

Unfortunately that is not the world as we know it today. But I believe that we can and must get there and that circular economy is an important tool to ensure a prosperous future for all to thrive in. But we need to focus less on the theoretical potentials, and more on tangible actions and results. Because what we need now is practitioners to drive the transformation. In other words: It is time for people and organizations with vision and courage to go out and try, test, fail, try again, and – in the end – succeed. Because whether it be in the private or the public sector, a truly sustainable future for all is only possible when we dare to go against the existing norms.

One of the core goals of a circular economy is to prevent waste generation and stop materials from ending up in landfill. This is a task carried out in two different modus operandi. In the long term, I believe we will and should design our way out of the problem from its root; making sure that new products are made and used in ways preventing it from ever becoming waste. But first – right now and here – we have to find new, smart ways to make new use of the immense amount of waste we have already generated, and most likely will continue to create in this transition period. The challenge here is to carry out the two tasks at once. To fix the problem in the short term with waste-to-resource innovations without forgetting our original long-term task of designing out waste from the start.The challenge here is to carry out the two tasks at once. To fix the problem in the short term with waste-to-resource innovations without forgetting our original long-term task of designing out waste from the start.

In short, we need to design the world of tomorrow with the waste of today, while working toward designing a world without waste.

In this white paper, we celebrate and share the experience of some of the building developers we have had the privilege of working together with on our journey to make the built environment more sustainable through circular economy (CE). Developers who have dared to be among the first to try working with reused and recycled materials in practice. Who have put themselves out there and taken the initial risk so that others can learn from their experiences and see that while it is not necessarily always easy, it is, in fact, doable.

We hope the readers will welcome these valuable experiences and make good use of them wherever they may come in handy, in future projects within (or outside of) the built environment.

Remember to look up at the stars and not down on your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up” – Professor Stephen Hawking.