moving away from a linear economy

Circular Economy

In a circular economy there is no bin. No waste.

A circular economy is a system where products and services are designed to be reused or ideally regenerative – as opposed to the predominantly linear model of “take, make and waste” that we have seen in the last few decades. According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, the three principles of a circular economy are to:

  • Design out waste and pollution
  • Keep products and materials in use
  • Regenerate natural systems

“The built environment is the sector which puts the most pressure on the natural environment and its role in transitioning to a circular economy is pivotal.” (Pomponi and Moncaster, 2017)

The material and assembly choices architects and designers make during the detailed design phase of a building or infrastructure asset impact directly on whether that built element is part of the circular economy or is used once and discarded.

Circular economy diagram from
From the Australian Circular Economy Hub’s interactive diagram
Circular economy diagram from
The three principles from a circular economy from the Ellen Macarthur Foundation.

Circular economy in buildings

These three principles in a circular economy of buildings mean:
  • Selecting materials that are manufactured in ways that reduce or eliminate waste and pollution
  • Ensuring that all elements of a build – or demolition – are re-used or kept in circulation
  • Adopting clean and renewable energy sources or selecting building processes that return materials to the natural environment (such as biodegradable products)

Low Impact Development (LID) Consulting are continually adding to our knowledge base of simple design specification items that deliver whole-of-life waste minimisation improvements, and build on a project’s contribution to the circular economy.

Our basic circular economy specification check service is an inexpensive engagement.

Call us for a chat to discuss smart sustainable solutions. We provide most quotes within 24 hours.


Circular Economy case study

LID Constructing were engaged to manage the meaningful recycling of a number of resources on a demolition project. In keeping with the principles of a circular economy – specifically the desire to maintain the value of an item throughout its lifecycle – we coordinated the sorting of all demolition materials into categories to enable reuse or recycling. A big win was the coordination and distribution of a number of items for free to the public on Gumtree.