Conceptualising the circular economy potential of construction and demolition waste: An integrative literature review

Vasilios Papastamoulis, Kerry London, Yingbin Feng, Peng Zhang, Robert Crocker, Petros Patias

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Traditionally, construction and demolition waste (CDW) materials have been considered to be unwanted, surplus, or wastage materials or materials with zero value. Such a conceptualisation only embraces a negative aspect, which underpins the disposal of reusable and recyclable CDW materials in landfills, thus damaging the circular economy and the environment. The scope of this research was to conceptualise the circular economy potential of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste, which can be used as a resource for advancing the circular economy and sustainability in the built environment. Thus, the abbreviation ‘CEPCDR’ is used for this purpose. The study employs an integrative literature review to understand in depth whether the rationale in the existing CDW definitions advocates for the circular economy. Instead, the literature showed that the current definitions mainly support quantitative, economic, or classification needs, respectively. That is because they lack consideration of the dynamic nature of CDW materials, which embraces the spatial and temporal dimensions. The former involves the geographic context in which the CDW phenomenon eventuates, while the latter concerns the lifecycle of materials. This study contributes to the body of knowledge by conceptualising the CEPCDR using a holistic approach that includes five dimensions: the social, economic, environmental, spatial, and temporal perspectives. Furthermore, the study seeks to drive future research in measuring the CEPCDR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number61
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Circular economy
  • Construction and demolition waste
  • Definition
  • Legislation
  • Lifecycle


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