What is the circular economy?

Understanding the linear economy vs circular economy


The circular economy in construction maximizes nature’s resources through a highly efficient “reduce, reuse, recycle” model. At Holcim, we are transitioning away from the linear “take, make, waste” economy as we aim to incorporate recycled materials into every new building.

 

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Circularity: the key to building better with less


The construction industry’s heavy reliance on natural resources underscores a pressing need for sustainable solutions. Leading the circular economy transition, Holcim is structuring our business around the principles of reducing, reusing and recycling as a key component of our “Strategy 2025 – Accelerating Green Growth”.

By 2030, we will recycle 100 million tons of material across our business, including 10 million tons of construction and demolition waste (CDW). These recycled products are then transformed into cement and aggregates to produce new concrete. Our Susteno circular cement boasts a 38% lower carbon footprint and 20% recycled materials inside, further closing the loop on CDW materials.

Reduce


Reducing is about preserving natural resources and limiting the footprint of new buildings by decarbonizing construction. We are continuously developing new ways to build better with less, from our ECOPact green concrete to 3D printing.

The ECOPact range delivers 100% performance with up to 90% less CO2 than standard concrete. 3D printing can reduce the carbon footprint of new buildings by up to 70%, presenting endless possibilities – from infrastructure projects to provision of affordable housing. Smart design enables us to use materials only where they are needed without compromise on performance.

Reuse


Reusing is about maintaining sustainable buildings in use, through repair, refurbishment, renovation and green retrofit systems. Breakthrough innovations like recarbonating recycled concrete make it possible to reuse untreated CO2 at industrial sources to create higher-performing materials for other applications.

We are making buildings smarter from foundation to rooftop through a broad range of advanced solutions. From green roofs to waterproofing membranes and insulating systems, buildings are becoming more energy-efficient and resilient at every stage of life – from design and building to repair and recycling.

Recycle


Recycling represents a significant business opportunity to transform materials and waste into new and valuable products. We recycled more than 50 million metric tons of materials across our business in 2021, which we intend to double by 2030.

Concrete can be fully and infinitely recycled as an alternative aggregate or raw material for cement production. As part of our urban mining efforts, we are scaling up the recycling of concrete and demolition waste (CDW) in our product ranges. Thanks to our proprietary technologies and systems, we are growing our capacity to recycle 100% of concrete-based CDW.

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