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Andersson, R and Buser, M (2020) On the Road to Nowhere? The Challenges of Aligning Construction and Demolition Waste Practices with Circular Economy. In: Scott, L and Neilson, C J (Eds.), Proceedings 36th Annual ARCOM Conference, 7-8 September 2020, UK, Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 536-545.
- Type: Conference Proceedings
- Keywords: Circular economy, Construction- and demolition waste, Institutional logics,
- ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9955463-3-2
- URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/d098b9dd06a6e86946325c2830d62aa9.pdf
The sustainable management of construction and demolition waste (CDW) should play a significant role to achieve the sustainable development goals defined by the EU. The construction is still a major contributor to the waste generated within the European union and contributes with around 25-30 percent of the total amount. A crucial part to achieving a sustainable built environment and mitigate the negative effects on the environment is to support the reuse of construction materials. The EU has put pressure on the sector to increase the recycling figures for the member states, but Sweden is still far from achieving the targeted figures and there has only been minor improvements during the last few years. Previous studies have shown that there is a gap between the shared understanding of formal and informal processes and practices of CDWM and the principles underlying the circular economy model and sustainable thinking. In order to explore the gap between those two positions we draw on the concept of institutional logics. The institutional logic helps us to identify the socially constructed assumptions, values, beliefs, and rules by which individuals produce and reproduce social reality. The empirical material gathered for this qualitative study consists of 20 semi-structured interviews with industry practitioners and policy makers, a case study of plastic pipe recycling within a large Swedish contractor company and documents analysis of the legal frame and industry guidelines. By analyzing the material through the theoretical lens, we identify the contradictions and incompatibilities between those two logics which account for the lack of improving practice and the inability to achieve higher levels of reused CDW. In order to achieve the development of circularity in the construction industry, formulating policies and a regulatory framework based on the existing assumption may not be enough, we need a paradigm shift.