Reuse of building elements: will it soon be the norm in Europe?
Today in NW-Europe, only 1% of building elements are reused following their first application. Although a large number of elements are technically reusable, they end up being recycled by crushing or melting, or disposed. The result is a high environmental impact and a net loss of economic value.
This project aims to increase by +50% the amount of reclaimed building elements being circulated on its territory by 2032.
Focusing on the northern half of France, Belgium, and the UK, the project also covers, with lesser intensity, the Netherlands, Ireland, the rest of France, and Luxembourg. This area houses thousands of SMEs specialized in the reclamation and supply of reusable building elements. Despite their obvious potential for the circular economy, these operators face significant challenges: visibility, access to meaningful projects and integration in contemporary building practices. Today, the flow of recirculated goods stagnate and may even decrease due to a lack of structured efforts.
To respond appropriately to these challenges, the project sets up an international partnership involving specialised organisations, trade associations, research centres, an architecture school and public administrations. It is rooted in earlier initiatives that were successfully initiated, on a local level.
These tools will be tested and promoted through 36 pilot operations taking place in large (de)construction projects, whereby more than 360 tons of elements will be reused. Effective communication efforts towards the stakeholders of the construction industry (including public authorities) will facilitate a smooth integration of these outputs into field practices and policies.
Source text and video courtesy of: