Making urban construction waste circular: many barriers to overcome

The Dutch construction industry is the biggest producer of waste, according to CBS-data, but also accounts for over half of the use of all recycled materials in the Netherlands. The construction industry uses 35-40% recycled materials. Widespread reuse of building components can promote the circularity of materials in the building sector.

However, the reuse of building components is not yet mainstream. While there have been several studies on the factors affecting the reuse of building components, there was no single study that has tried to harmonize the circumstances affecting this intervention. Through a systematic literature review targeting peer-reviewed journal articles, a recent European study intends to identify and stratify factors affecting the reuse of components of the superstructure of a building.

Results indicate that addressing the economic, social, and regulatory barriers should be prioritized. While the impact of barriers under perception, risk, compliance, and market sub-categories are very pronounced, the highest inter-dependency is found between perception and risk. It suggests that the perception of the stakeholders about construction components reuse is affected by the potential risks associated with this intervention.

An initial look at the barriers revealed that addressing the economic factors were playing a significant role in the successful implementation of reuse in the building sector, followed by technical, social, regulatory, and organizational barriers.
After analyzing the inter-relationship between the sub-categories of barriers, it was observed that while addressing reuse obstacles requires a holistic approach, actions to overcome the social, economic, and regulatory barriers should be prioritized.

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