What would it take for the construction industry to drive a circular materials economy faster? How about a financial incentive?
Mace has published a series of recommendations to the construction industry to drive a circular materials economy.
It aims to rally the sector to reduce the use of virgin materials and to position London as the “circular construction capital of the world”.
- Industry activities generated 1.54 million tonnes of waste in a decade, just 10 per cent of which is recycled.
- Nearly 14 million tonnes of waste across London worth £1.25 billion could be saved over the next decade via circular economy principles.
- 11 million tonnes of CO₂ could be saved in a decade, equivalent to 3.5 per cent of UK annual emissions.
The global construction industry accounts for 40 per cent of carbon emissions and more than 50 per cent of raw material use, despite various initiatives, with major cities responsible for most construction waste.
Mace has analysed the “true potential” of a circular materials economy – through “reducing, reusing and recycling” – in its Closing the Circle report, with London as the spearhead.
- Physical and virtual “circularity materials banks” enabling smaller firms to access materials produced elsewhere in the industry.
- Materials passports to digitally track and catalogue the source within the supply chain, enabling reuse.
- Build a “circularity accreditation scheme” to allow clients, investors and contractors to demonstrate the value of their commitment.
- A legislative mandate to financially incentivise circularity via a reduction in Section 106 requirements where circular practices are adopted.
“We must be able to deliver zero embodied carbon buildings and infrastructure within our lifetimes, and we believe that the transition to a circular economy is amongst the most important innovations and system changes required to achieve that,” said James Low, global head of responsible business at Mace.
“This requires the entire industry to come together to provide the information, products, construction practices, and behaviours required to realise the potential carbon savings associated with a more circular model in London over the next decade.”
Ged Simmonds, managing director of commercial offices, added: “By adopting and mandating circularity across our built environment projects we can make significant and meaningful steps in our shared pursuit of a sustainable world.”
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