The over extraction of resources is one of the prime threats to nature. Following COP15 and the Kunming Montreal agreement, it’s crucial that more than ever we hold nature centrally in all our work. As part of this, we’re examining how a circular economy can reduce our industry’s impact on nature outside of the footprint of a development.
What is the Link Between the Circular Economy and Nature?
The majority of the building materials we use come from nature. Globally, the built environment has a high demand for these resources which leads to over extraction and therefore, the degradation of natural environments. Harnessing the circular economy, and reusing materials already in the system, closes the loop and reduces the need to extract these resources. This in turn means there’s less pressure on crucial wildlife habitats and therefore less decline in global biodiversity. If properly implemented, a mature circular economy should not just be slowing this decline but be regenerative and work to restore these habitats.
What does this mean for built environment practionners?
The UK built environment has an important role to play as we work to reverse the decline of nature. By embracing the circular economy, the UK built environment can be leaders and demonstrate that our industry can have a positive relationship with the natural world.
On an individual development level, following circular economy principles can allow a project to have a lower ‘embodied ecological impact.’ What this means in practice, is that the process for extracting and gathering the materials for the project were less environmentally damaging compared to a typical build.