On the road to nowhere? The challenges of aligning construction and demolition waste practices with circular economy
Paper in proceedings, 2020
The construction sector 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 achieve a sustainable built environment and mitigate the negative effects on the environment is to support the reuse and recycle of construction materials. The EU has put pressure on the sector to increase recycling for the member states and adopt Circular Economy (CE) principles, but Sweden is still far from achieving the targeted figures. Previous studies have shown that there are tensions between the shared understanding of formal and informal processes and practices of Construction and Demolition Waste (CDW) and the principles underlying the CE model. In order to explain the slow transition to Circular Economy, we identify and analyse these tensions in the field of CDW in Sweden. To do so, we draw on the concept of institutional field logic. This concept help us to understand how individuals' behaviours are constrained and affected by the socially constructed assumptions, values, beliefs, and rules by which individuals produce and reproduce social reality and which account for the decisions they make The empirical material gathered for this qualitative study consists of 29 semi-structured interviews with industry practitioners and policy makers and documents analysis of the legal frame and industry guidelines. Although we can identify a few initiatives of implementing CE principles, our results show contradictions and incompatibilities between the two logics which can explain the lack of improving practice and the difficulty to realise the CE benefits.