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Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Centre for Mineral-based Construction Materials

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Focus Area 3E – Standards, policy & regulation for increased MCM circularity

This focus area aims to map the current regulatory landscape of MCM circularity, informing new approaches and instruments that could be implemented to support the transition to a Circular Economy.

3e

Description

A significant share of the waste within the construction sector is mineral-based materials including, concrete, bricks, gypsum, wood, glass, metals plastic, solvents, asbestos, and excavated soil.

The UK mineral-based construction sector could become more circular, adding and maintaining the value of materials over longer life-cycles, and reduce waste through a blend of innovation in design (e.g. best available techniques/technologies), smart regulatory measures (e.g. standards, permits, and exemptions), and economic regulation (e.g. taxes and fines).

The main obstacle to achieving rapid transition is common agreement on what the most effective combination of designs and measures would be amongst stakeholders (business, government, and expert trade associations) and how to introduce them so as not to place unnecessary economic burdens, especially on small, medium-sized enterprises and local governments.

Using a system-wide approach this research project will use mixed methods (online law and policy analysis, interviews, and workshops) to gather data that will inform recommendations to reform laws, regulations, and standards so that the mineral-based construction sector’s use of materials becomes more circular.

The research will focus on the mineral-based construction materials cement and concrete taking a comparative approach to developments within the devolved administrations, primarily England and Scotland.

Evidence-based outputs, both academic and a report, will inform public and private sector initiatives to develop a smart regulatory approach to increase the value of mineral-based construction materials within a more circular economy helping to move towards a sustainable and just transition to a zero-carbon world by 2050.