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Circular construction materials for a sustainable future

  • Health and safety
  • Land-use planning
  • Permitting processes / policy integration
  • Reporting official statistics
  • Socio-economic and environmental impact assessments

Challenge the practice is addressing: The Swedish construction industry consumes large amounts of resources and is responsible for about one third of the waste generated in the country; only a small part is reused or recycled. The share of secondary materials in total sales of aggregates in Europe varies from country to country, with some reaching 20-25%. Sweden is among the countries with the lowest share at about 2%. Millions of tonnes are send to landfill or used in applications where the material is not fully utilised. This has negative impacts on the environment and also means a significant economic loss for industry and society.

Concrete practice to achieve the expected goal: To achieve a more circular construction industry, Swerock is introducing a concept for circular aggregate production - ECO-Ballast. ECO-Ballast is a collective term for a range of aggregates produced from recycled materials. Each ECO-Ballast product is developed for specific construction purposes, meeting the same specifications and having the same properties as virgin aggregates. Production is in accordance with established regulations, standards and procedures, resulting in a well-defined, quality-assured and CE-marked product. In addition, health and environmental declarations are available. Many products are entirely made of recycled material, but the definition is at least 50% to allow hybrid solutions if necessary to meet specific requirements. The raw material can be excess material from building and construction projects, such as excavation mass and tunnel muck, or by-products from industrial processes, such as slag from steel production.

Expected impact/goal of the practice: The aim is to increase reuse and recycling by ensuring security and simplicity for customers when specifying, sourcing, and using circular products for their applications.

Who is the target user group of the practice/intervention or implementing the practice/intervention? This practice is for companies in the extractive industry.

UEPG Sustainable Development Award Nominee / Swerock AB
Data item type
Practice base
Practice type
Repository, resource libraries & toolkits
Learning relevance
Case study
Construction minerals (aggregates)
Extractive life-cycle
Post-exploitation phase (i.e. rehabilitation)
Sustainability scope
Role and indicators for an inclusive Green Economy
Extractives' role in closing cycles
Waste management
System change potential
increase reuse and recycling
recycling rates