Categorizing construction waste: Closing the gap between European waste regulation and management practices
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2024

Abstract: The European Union has proposed a comprehensive set of legislative measures and action plans aimed at facilitating the shift towards a sustainable future, however, the challenges of waste production and recycling remain an enduring issue, especially within the construction industry, which generates 800 million tons of waste annually in Europe alone. Given that waste management practices depend on how waste is categorized, this study delves into issues of waste categories and categorization processes highlighting their influence on how waste is handled. Drawing on an ethnographic case study and quantitative waste data, conflicting categorization processes that contribute to poor recycling practices and potentially erroneous waste data are uncovered. This includes 1) the existence of a grey zone in waste management for new build projects due to regulations only defining waste fractions for demolition activities, and 2) that the institutional setting has direct influence on waste categorization among different actors, which leads to erroneous waste data. This stresses a potential disparity in the comprehension of waste categories and resource management maintains fragmentation leading to substantial quantities of waste being incinerated rather than recycled.

Institutional theory

Recycling practices


Construction and demolition waste

EU waste hierarchy


Andreas De Gier

Aalborg Universitet

Stefan Christoffer Gottlieb

Aalborg Universitet

Martine Buser

Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Byggnadsdesign

Sustainable Futures

26661888 (ISSN)

Vol. 7 100194


Hållbar utveckling


Building Futures (2010-2018)




Annan naturresursteknik




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