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The Material Bank was able to save 40 tons of construction material to be reused in 2021, Source: City of Leuven

Leuven presents plan for a circular construction sector

Leuven presents plan for a circular construction sector

Local authorities want to work with private businesses and encourage the use of recyclable raw materials in building projects as a way to decarbonise the sector

Yesterday, the Belgian city of Leuven presented their new action plan for circular construction. The city will try to encourage the reuse and recycling of as many materials as possible during renovations or developments in the city. The push is part of Leuven’s bid to reach climate neutrality by 2050, as, according to a statement, decarbonising the whole sector can result in massive savings on emissions.

Raw materials, which are mined, used and then destroyed or thrown away during renovations or demolition result in large amounts of waste for the construction business and cause increased carbon emissions. Thus, recycling initiatives can help reach sustainability goals in more ways than one.

Adapting the local construction industry to sustainability

Local authorities plan to establish the circular construction system via a 16-point action plan, as well as partnering with private companies that are interested in developing sustainable principles for the use of raw materials.

At the same time, much of the efforts will initially be focused on public projects with government contracts. They will serve as a way to strengthen the Materials Bank Leuven, which will collect and redistribute used building materials. The Materials Bank has already started to gain popularity over recent years as a place for recycled building materials. In 2021, it was able to save around 40 tons from being discarded.   

According to David Dessers, Alderman for Climate and Sustainability, useful materials can be saved during construction and renovation via urban mining. Then, the use of these recycled materials becomes a design decision of the architect and a sourcing decision of the contractor.

Alderman Dessers was quoted in a press release, explaining: “As a government, we have a crucial role in encouraging the reuse of construction materials and we can ensure a major impact by adapting urban construction projects and regulations to the circular principles. With this plan, we want to accelerate the transition to this way of building.”

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