In our Living Lab we work together with key stakeholders on the circularity of the construction and demolition sector in the Metropolitan Region Amsterdam, in particular concrete waste. The Living Lab aims at creating an intervention that valorises concrete waste from urban areas into secondary raw materials that can be reused in the construction and demolition sector. We define a Living Lab as the conditions for creating an innovation aiming at urban sustainability. By conducting research simultaneously with applying it, we generate knowledge and are able to directly feed this knowledge back into the Living Lab process.
ABOUT Living Lab Concretely circular
CONCRETE VALUE CHAIN
Concrete waste is the largest waste stream in the MRA, 35% of construction and demolition waste is made up of concrete debris and 32 % is mixed debris, which also contains concrete waste (TNO & EIB, 2018). Since landfilling was forbidden in the Netherlands in 1997, close to all debris is recycled as granulate for the foundation for infrastructure, such as roads (Bakker & Hu, 2015). At the same time, concrete is also the most used material, with a total demand of almost two megatons per year in the MRA (TNO & EIB, 2018). However, a large share of the primary materials that are required for the production of concrete are imported to the Netherlands and additionally these primary materials are becoming increasingly scarce (Bakker & Hu, 2015). Due to the increased use of concrete as a building material in the past, the availability of concrete waste is increasing, whereas the demand from the infrastructural sector for concrete waste as subbase for roads is diminishing. Instead of recycling concrete waste as subbase for infrastructure, it can also be used as aggregate in new concrete, replacing some of those increasingly scarce primary materials.
Currently only 2% of concrete waste is applied in this way (Netwerk Betonketen, 2014). There is thus a large potential for increasing this share. However, the demand for new concrete is much higher than the supply of concrete waste (TNO & EIB, 2018). Thus, even when maximally recycling concrete waste as an aggregate in new concrete, it cannot cover the entire demand for aggregate, and the use of primary materials will remain necessary, or other alternatives have to be found. An in-depth understanding of the concrete sector is required in order to identify the main impact points for increasing the share of recycled concrete waste in new concrete. This report therefore sets out to firstly analyse the current concrete sector and secondly determining what the key enablers and barriers are to increasing the circularity of concrete. It therefore asks the question ‘What are enablers and barriers for increasing the circularity of the concrete value chain in the MRA?’.