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Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010229

From Waste Management to Component Management in the Construction Industry

1
Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering, Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
2
Department of Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering, Centre for Resource Efficiency & the Environment, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 December 2017 / Revised: 14 January 2018 / Accepted: 15 January 2018 / Published: 17 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in Municipal Solid Waste Management)
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Abstract

The construction industry uses more resources and produces more waste than any other industrial sector; sustainable development depends on the reduction of both, while providing for a growing global population. The reuse of existing building components could support this goal. However, it is difficult to reclaim components from demolition, and materials remain cheap compared with labour, so new approaches are needed for reuse to be implemented beyond niche projects. This study therefore reviews waste interventions. Multiple case studies, spanning new builds and refurbishment, were undertaken to examine systemic mechanisms that lead to components being discarded. Evidence from fieldwork observations, waste documentation, and interviews indicates that the generators of unwanted components effectively decide their fate, and a failure to identify components in advance, uncertainty over usefulness, the perception of cost and programme risk in reclamation, and the preferential order of the waste hierarchy mean that the decision to discard to waste management goes unchallenged. A triage process is proposed to capture timely information about existing building components to be discarded, make this information visible to a wide community, and determine usefulness by focusing creativity already present in the industry on an exhaustive examination of component reusability and upcyclability. View Full-Text
Keywords: reuse; building materials; construction and demolition waste; architecture; engineering; and construction (AEC) industry; end-of-waste; repurposing; upcycling; creativity; utility reuse; building materials; construction and demolition waste; architecture; engineering; and construction (AEC) industry; end-of-waste; repurposing; upcycling; creativity; utility
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Rose, C.M.; Stegemann, J.A. From Waste Management to Component Management in the Construction Industry. Sustainability 2018, 10, 229.

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