UCL Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering


Systems for manufacturing with waste and their impacts

Each year, humans extract about 60 billion tonnes (60,000m) of resources from the planet.

1 September 2017

The majority of this is non-renewable and about two-thirds is emitted to air, water or land, leading to climate change and pollution. The circular economy offers a more sustainable vision of resource cycling at high value, with continual interlinked cycling of manmade materials, and cascading cycling of biological materials to ultimately nourish the earth. Its goals are greater economic stability, with more equitable sharing of resources, and maintenance of consumption and environmental impacts within planetary boundaries.

UCL CircEL aims to harness the full breadth and depth of UCL expertise, to tackle circular economy-related problems of any size or stage of development. In the past year, CEGE’s Centre for Resource Efficiency & the Environment (CREE) has led workshops with academia and industry to consider how circular economy research can support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises, and how circular economy principles can be embedded in multidisciplinary teaching at all levels.

Our Circular Economy-related projects include research on the potential environmental impacts of using industrial wastes to make cement, re-use of timber harvested from the demolition of buildings, creating biofuels from agricultural waste, and growing algae using emissions from ships.