Transitioning the Built Environment to Circularity
The current trajectory indicates that by 2060, the Earth will be faced with a challenging decision: providing adequate housing for the growing population of 10 billion people or minimizing the impact on the planet. To avoid this dilemma, a shift to circular building solutions is proposed.
Four crucial verticals have been identified to facilitate this transition:
- Extending the product life cycle: The circular economy aims to keep loops closed to avoid re-engaging resources. This involves repairing, reselling, reconditioning, and recycling products to maintain their value and reduce waste. Designing products for longevity is essential in minimizing environmental impact.
- Alternative raw materials: Circular economy endeavors to preserve resources by utilizing recycled content and bio-based materials with shorter renewal cycles. Innovative methods, such as using CO2 from the atmosphere to create building materials, are also being explored.
- Revalorizing waste: Recycling waste has become essential to decrease the carbon footprint of products. Startups are finding ways to revalorize waste and incorporate it back into manufacturing processes, reducing the need for virgin resources.
- Incentivizing sustainable behavior: The circular economy requires a systemic approach, involving all actors in the value chain. Regulations, like Extended Producer Responsibility, can drive sustainable practices. Startups are providing solutions to help construction industry players comply with waste management regulations.
Large industrial companies must take action to have the most powerful impact in the transition to a circular economy. Startups have an advantage in adapting to new business models to align with this eco-friendly approach. Although the transition is gradual, staying abreast of market and innovation developments is crucial to avoid falling behind in this transformative movement.
Saint-Gobain, as a manufacturer of construction materials with a mission to Make the World a Better Home, is seeking innovative partners who can transition from a linear economy to a circular economy.