PN13: The Circular Economy and Use of Recycled Materials in Infrastructure Assets


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Practice Note 13: The Circular Economy and Use of Recycled Materials in Infrastructure Assets

Published 2023

About Practice Note 13

As the human population rises beyond 8 billion our consumption of natural resources and the waste generated continue to grow exponentially. The World Bank estimates that infrastructure now accounts for approximately 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions and half of all resources used and waste created globally. Add to that the projection that 60%-70% of the 2050 infrastructure is not yet built, and it becomes obvious that the current linear "take - make - waste" economy is no longer sustainable.

With the roll out of a Circular Economy that refuses, redesigns, reduces, reuses, repairs, recycles and recovers materials, the infrastructure sector has enormous potential to reduce our demands on raw materials, the waste generated and the impacts of climate change.

Practice Note 13 provides the very latest guidance for managers, policy makers, asset managers, engineers, procurement officers and educators on how to implement Circular Economy principles and increase the use of recycled materials in infrastructure assets. It is packed full of industry-led innovative best practice information, technical details, materials specifications, environmental and other benefits, circular economy policies and procurement guidelines from around the world.

Recycled materials examined include coal ash, asphalt, concrete, glass, metal, organics, plastics, tyres, wood and other commonly used materials. In addition, their suitability for use in over 200 assets has been assessed and is presented in a simple traffic light table for ease of use.

The Practice Note is supported by a simple three step process to overcome common barriers, as well as user developed tools, look-up tables, case studies and extensive links to further information, industry associations and suppliers. More than just a best practice guideline, it is an invaluable tool in assisting the practitioner become an agent for change in their organisation, determine which recycled material is right for their project and find where to procure it locally. For those who would like to benefit from an industry recognised micro-credential, an online training module has also been developed to complement the Practice Note. It provides further resources, embedded videos, activities, quizzes and a business case exercise to implement the learnings into your organisation. The Training Module is available at the following link.