Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials



Read the latest publications from researchers at our centre


Sustainable iron-rich cements: Raw material sources and binder types

Peys, A., Isteri, V., Yliniemi, J. et al. (6 more authors) Sustainable iron-rich cements: Raw material sources and binder types. Cement and Concrete Research, 157. (2022) 106834. ISSN 0008-8846

This review paper discusses in detail the most abundantly available Fe-rich natural resources and industrial by-products and residues, establishing symbiotic supply chains from various sectors. The discussion then focusses on the impact of high iron content in clinker and on ferrite (thermo)chemistry, as well as the importance of iron speciation on its involvement in the reactions as supplementary cementitious material or alkali-activated materials, and the technical quality that can be achieved from sustainable Fe-rich cements.

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Losing ground: Targeting agricultural land take by enabling a circular economy

Kourmouli, A., Lesniewska, F. Losing Ground: Targeting Agricultural Land Take by Enabling a Circular Economy in Construction. Circ.Econ.Sust. (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43615-023-00293-y

In this opinion paper, the authors argue that the circular economy concept could help to establish an alternative perspective on how to understand and address the agricultural land take problem. Law and policy need to foster a systemic transition to a circular economy throughout the entire construction sector’s multiple material life cycles if it is to significantly reduce land take. We use England as a case study to show how the UK government can revise and build on current policy to enable a transition to a more circular construction sector. The case study provides valuable lessons for other countries at a crossroad on land use policy on how fostering a circular construction economy can reduce land take and maintain agricultural soil’s ecological services.

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Disassembly and reuse of structural members in steel-framed buildings: State-of-the-art review of connection systems and future research trends

Kitayama, S., Iuorio, O. (2023) Disassembly and reuse of structural members in steel-framed buildings: State-of-the-art review of connection systems and future research trends. Journal of Architectural Engineering, Volume 29, Issue 4 (2023) https://doi.org/10.1061/JAEIED.AEENG-161

This paper (1) presents a review of more than 100 documents to discuss the feasibility of disassembly and reuse of structural members; (2) develops detailed schematic illustrations to explain the design concepts and the underlying mechanics governing the behavior of demountable connections; (3) sheds lights on the technical and design challenges to implement disassembly and reuse of the structural members; and (4) defines future research needs to facilitate the disassembly and reuse of the structural members.

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Bayesian material flow analysis for systems with multiple levels of disaggregation and high dimensional data 

Wang, J., Ray, K., Brito-Parada, P., Plancherel, Y., Bide, T., Mankelow J., Morley, J, Stegemann, J., Myers, R., "Bayesian material flow analysis for systems with multiple levels of disaggregation and high dimensional data" Journal of Industrial Ecology Publication in (pre-print)

Potential for a soil reuse and storage system in England

You’ve perhaps heard of insect hotels but what about soil hotels?

Sometimes thought of as the ‘Cinderella’ of the natural world, soils store more carbon than the atmosphere and vegetation combined, are a precious resource which all too often goes unnoticed, underappreciated and at worst, simply thrown away.

Over 50% of the soil deriving from construction and demolition projects in England finds its way into landfill, arising to £1.42 billion annually as a functional value loss. Although is some cases soil has become contaminated, and poses a risk to people and the planet if not disposed of carefully, in the overwhelming majority of cases (98.% was classified as inert waste) perfectly safe soil is sent via skips to landfill each year.

Drawing on examples of best practice from New York to the Netherlands, Lancaster University researchers along with the Environment Agency and other university partners are working to tackle the amount of soil that finds its way into landfill each year with a series of policy recommendations and the introduction of a soil reuse and storage system, including soil ‘hotels’ and ‘hospitals’.

In their report ‘Potential for a Soil Reuse and Storage system in England’, Soil Hotels are defined as ‘fixed facilities for temporary relocation of clean, natural soils’, whereas Soil Hospitals would be facilities for treatment of contaminated soils as well as manufacturing soil with improved quality.

Soil is a limited, non-renewable source and underpins a plethora of vital ecosystem services essential to climate control, water quality, nutrient cycling and more. It forms incredibly slowly, is lost at variable rates through natural erosion or abruptly and in large volumes (from 2 up to 40,000 times greater than pre-construction conditions) as a result of the construction industry.

Angeliki Kourmouli, lead author said: “Soils are often overlooked when it comes to a construction or development project, and their management is not considered during the early planning stages. Soil handling within development is often mismanaged due to inadequate on-site monitoring and enforcement of existing controls. Moreover, storing soil on-site has been described as a critical obstacle when it comes to soil reuse. We believe that with some changes we could develop a pathway towards a more circular and better management of soil in England."

Kourmouli, A. , Winter, G., Andrews, K., Cory, T., Elliott, P., Palmer, E., Stevens, P., Davies, J., Stevens, C. and Quinton, J. N. (2024). Potential for a Soil Reuse and Storage system in England. Lancaster: Lancaster University 10.5281/zenodo.10943857

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Circular Economy Textbook: An Introduction to Waste Management and Circular Economy

This book starts from the belief that waste management cannot be understood without considering the wider context of production and consumption. Products and services result from complex material lifecycles, starting with the extraction of raw materials, followed by material processing and product manufacturing, before delivering their intended service to consumers. After their use, products are discarded and may be recovered or disposed. This systems perspective on material use is essential to address the social and environmental impacts of waste.

Stijn van Ewijk & Julia Stegemann

To download your copy free, click here.  

Determining the carbon footprint reduction of reusing lightweight exterior infill walls: A case study of a school building in the United Kingdom

This paper first examines the construction process of lightweight exterior infill walls and explores the opportunity to demount and reuse them. Then, the environmental impacts of the lightweight exterior infill walls are analysed using a lifecycle assessment framework. Sensitivity and uncertainty analyses are also conducted. 

Shoma Kitayama

Read here.

Under Review

Developing an accounting-sustainability tool to embed circular economy principles for the construction sector

Zhao, L. Journal of Cleaner Production

Exploring the enablers and barriers on capital investment into circular economy initiatives

Zhao, L. Accounting and Business Research or Accounting, Auditing & Accountability

Incorporating circular economy principles into the lifecycle of lightweight exterior infill walls

Kitayama, S., Iuorio, O., Josa, I., Borrion, A.,Black, L. Journal of Cleaner Production

Integrating behavioural science insights into social life cycle assessment: a proposal

Josa, I., Allison, A., Purkiss, D., Miodownik, M., Borrion, A. special issue of International Journal of Lifecycle Assessment

Maritime shipping digital twin toward decarbonization of cement carrier journeys

Manola, E., Owen, J., Stevenson, K., Perkins, B., Varga, L. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Manuscript in preparation

Application of BaMFA to quantify the UK construction aggregate cycle

Wang, J. - Report for the UK Office of National Statistics

Less is more: from waste management to waste prevention, paper in preparation

Ewijk, S., Josa, I., Lesniewska, F., Lindner, A. - Journal TBC 

Decarbonisation and circularity strategies in the construction sector: life cycle assessment of cleaner production of the concrete supply chain in the UK

Josa, I., Borrion, A. - Journal TBC

Rebuilding or retrofitting? An assessment of social impacts using Social Life Cycle Assessment

Josa, I., Borrion, A. - Journal TBC

Resource efficiency and circular economy strategies in the UK’s construction sector: an economic policy assessment

Calzadilla, A., Piskin, M., Domenech, T. - Journal TBC

Enabling capital investment into circular economy projects for the construction sector: An UK case study

Zhao, L. - Management Accounting Research or British Accounting Review

Introduction of a soil reuse and storage system in England

Kourmouli, A. - Report from Environment Agency secondment

Magway an underground freight delivery system digital twin

Manola, E. - Journal TBC

Key indicators to assess construction supply chains from an environmental perspective: taxonomy and critical insights

Josa, I., Borrion, A. - Journal TBC

Conference proceedings - Post-Doctoral Researchers

Valorisation of construction and demolition waste for sustainable infrastructure development

Lesniewska, F, Presentation at the UK-China Joint Conference (12/2021)

A robotically extruded sugar waste composite for a circular biomateriality in architecture

J. Meng, D. Alnaeb, A. K. Salmane, P. Devadass, M. Cruz, B. Parker, 5th International Conference on Structures and Architecture, Aalborg University (7/2022)

Design for de-construction of lightweight infill walls systems

Kitayama, S., Luorio, O., Conference Paper presented at the eighth International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics

Accounting for Circular Economy

Zhao, L., Presentation at Bristish Accounting and Finance Association FMI / NAG Conference at the University of York (9/2022)

Not wasting opportunities; rethinking approaches to waste law interventions

Lesniewska, F., special panel at the Society of Legal Scholars, Annual Conference Oxford, (8/2023)

CE policy and MCM in UK

Lesniewska, F., International Conference on Resource Sustainability, University of Surrey (8/2023)

3D visualisation of the interfacial transition zone between recycled aggregate and different cementitious materials

Fernandes, B., Krishnan, S., Macente, A., Villagrán-Zaccardi, Y., Black, L., Bernal. S., ToScA UK & Europe 2023 (Glasgow, 2023)

The combined roles of cement type and recycled concrete aggregate on the formation of the interfacial transition zone

Fernandes, B., Krishnan, S., Macente, A., Villagrán-Zaccardi, Y., Black, L., Bernal. S., V International Conference Progress of Recycling in the Built Environment (Weimar, 2023). Proceedings can be found at: https://www.rilem.net/publication/publication/542?id_papier=13545#

Impacts of mineral-based construction and demolition waste on soil functions and ecosystem services

Kourmouli, A., Oral presentation at the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) and Soil Science Society Ireland (SSSI) annual conference and poster presentation at the Early Career BSSS conference (12/2023)

Construction and demolition mineral-based waste impacts soil functioning and ecosystem services

Kourmouli, A., Submitted to the European Geosciences Union conference in Vienna (4/2024)

Rethinking construction and demolition soil waste under a circular economy framework

Kourmouli, A., Submitted to the Centennial Celebration and Congress of the International Union of Soil Sciences conference in Florence (5/2024)

Conference proceedings - Co-Investigators

Presentation of ICEC-MCM to Resource Efficiency in Construction and the Built Environment

Stegemann, J., (1/2021)

Henry Royce Institute Conference

Stegemann, J., (3/2021)

NICER Programme National Launch

Stegemann, J., Black, L., Osmani, M., (5/2021)

London Workshop for Higher Education & the Circular Economy - CE London Week

Domenech, T., (6/2021)

Construction & Demolition Waste - 18th International Symposium on Waste Management and Sustainable Landfill

Osmani, M., (7/2021)

Mineral Products Association Conference 2021

Graham, E., (10/2021)

UKRI IUK Circular Economy for SME Briefing

Black, L., (10/2021)

2021 Great Exhibition Road Festival, Science Museum – Construction Materials Toolkit

Myers, R., Wang, J., (10/2021)

British Precast Conference Week

Stegemann, J., (11/2021)

Launch of the Research Centre for Resources Engineering towards carbon neutrality

Stegemann, J., (1/2022)

Construction and demolition waste recovery and the United Nations framework classification for resource

Stegemann, J., WASCON 2023, 11th International Conference on the Environmental and Technical Implications of Construction with Alternative Materials, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (12/2023)


Landill Tax, Construction and Demolition Waste and the Circular Economy

Lesniewska, F., Reed, J., Kourmouli, A., Black, L., Venkataraman, R., Soumava, B., Graham, E. (2023) Policy Brief

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