The Materials Book

156 Reuse and Recycling: Materializing a Circular Construction Felix Heisel Ever since the industrial revolution, the global economic system has been based on a single linear pattern: the “take – make – throw” model. Companies manufacture products using harvested or extracted materials and consequently sell them to consumers who—once the products are broken, old, or out of fashion—dispose of them, including all their embedded raw materials, water, energy, and knowledge. As a result, global material extraction has more than doubled in the past thirty years. 1 And it is predicted to continue on a similar path, from 65 billion metric tonnes of raw materials entering the economic system in 2010 to around 82 billion in 2020. 2 To break this pattern, there must be a paradigm shift in the underlying approach, one that will radically change our economic and ecological understanding and decouple economic growth and resource consumption: a shift from a linear to a circular economy. This transition offers potential material savings worth more than one trillion dollars. 3 Within the circular economy, material resources are used continuously in either biological or technical metabolisms at their highest value and utility, without ever turning into waste. In combination with new business models that separate performance and hardware, this allows manufacturers to retain ownership of their resources, leading to an increased security in stock management for production. Most importantly, the circular economy is not an end-of-pipe solution but a new economic model with a design imperative: when the product itself