Influence of waste materials on buildings’ life cycle environmental impacts : Adopting resource recovery principle

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-23
Journal / PublicationResources, Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


Buildings are responsible for a significant natural resources diminution and emissions to the environment. Thus, the building industry has become a global target for reducing environmental impacts and curbing resource depletion. Concerning the rapidly growth of buildings, life cycle assessment (LCA) is increasingly used for assessing and mitigating the associated environmental impacts from material selection to the whole building systems. However, many of the previous studies have focused on the impacts assessment from buildings within a restricted system boundary, especially lack of consideration of several critical factors when assessing the whole building, such as wastage level of raw materials during building construction and the disposal impacts, renovation and replacement of components of building and their treatment, and waste treatments during building demolition. As the industry is shifting from linear to circular, the consideration of those factors are essential for ensuring waste reduction, resources recovery and resource-efficient construction, not to mention about increasing the accuracy of such assessment. Therefore, the present study was conducted to assess the environmental impacts of the mentioned aspects at different life cycles of building by LCA. The results were then critically discussed after identifying the contribution of waste materials at different stages of building to the total impacts. The potential sustainable strategies for waste treatments during the construction, operation and end-of-life stages of building were then highlighted to help lay important foundation for adopting circular economy principle in the building industry and establishing benchmark for future reduction.

Research Area(s)

  • Building, Circular economy, Environmental impacts, Life cycle assessment, Resource recovery, Waste treatment

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