An Analysis of the Impact of the Circular Economy Application on Construction and Demolition Waste in the United States of America

Namho Cho, Mounir El Asmar, Mohammad Aldaaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The built environment is accountable for a substantial share of global waste production. Construction and demolition (C&D) debris requires significant landfill areas and costs billions of USD. A circular economy (CE) is a business model that promotes the efficient use of materials to minimize waste generation and raw material consumption. The success of a CE model can be directly linked to the economic impact for each of the business participants. This study applies the concept of CE to estimate the macro-scale financial impact of key entities that contribute to the unclaimed C&D debris stream in the United States of America (U.S.). This study identifies three recycling steam entities: waste generators, recyclers, and end-users. The result shows that waste generators can save USD 6.5 billion by recycling in comparison to sending the current waste materials to landfills. This study could not find the estimated economic benefit for recyclers, but reasonable profit should be generated for them to sustain the C&D recycling industry. Lastly, end-users benefit by an estimated USD 34 billion, which can be achieved based on the condition of high-value recycling materials. The contribution of this paper is analyzing the macro-scale impact of CE on both business owners and consumers and showing how the impact on consumers cannot be neglected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10034
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • case study
  • circular economy (CE)
  • construction and demolition (C&D) debris
  • environmental economics
  • recycling stream
  • waste management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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