Circular Economy

UKGBC is working with its members and other stakeholders to develop practical guidance, raise awareness and influence policy to enable organisations working in the built environment overcome the barriers to implementing circular economy principles.

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January 3, 2019

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Research & Innovation

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Update: We are looking for funding to support the second year of our circular economy programme, to discuss the opportunities, or to receive updates on the programme, please contact Anna Surgenor.

The built environment can play a major role in creating a circular economy. In the UK, construction, demolition and excavation account for 60% of both material use and waste generation. Humanity is on course to triple material extraction in the next 30 years and triple waste production by 2100. Meanwhile, prices of construction materials in the UK rose by 4.9% between 2017 and 2018, and adopting circular economy principles creates a 1.8 trillion opportunity for the EU between 2015 and 2030. 

UKGBC launched its circular economy programme in Spring 2018. In the first year we worked with our members and other key stakeholders to produce Circular Economy Guidance for Construction Clients, which provides comprehensive practical guide for those wanting to include circular principles in their project briefs. We also created a web based actor and resource map  of initiatives within the built environment around circular economy. The purpose of which is to allow organisations to use existing knowledge and methodologies to successfully implement circular economy principles without repeating the work of others. Further resources created by the programme can be found at the bottom of this page.  

Our plan for year two of the programme is to create guidance for construction clients which extends to the design and construction stages in the RIBA plan of work. We will also run events with the industry to move the existing guidance into practice and enable us to update it with new case studies and solutionsThroughout the year we will continue wider awareness and education events and advocate for progressive government policy.  

Further UKGBC resources 

On 4 December 2018, we were joined by officials from Defra and BEIS to hear suggestions from our members on how Government can put in place a stronger regulatory and legislative framework to help drive circular outcomes.See the UKGBC Circular Economy policy roundtable write up here.

To learn more about circular economy you can find recordings of our programmes webinars here: 

This programme was set up based on feedback from UKGBC Gold Leaf members in 2017. ThisCircular Economy Research Survey, suggested that UKGBC needed to facilitate collaborative approaches to overcome common obstacles.