cycleworks - Plastics in construction

Background Plastics in construction

Plastics have become an integral part of the construction industry. Their technical properties allow them to be used in a wide range of applications, through which they can make an important contribution to reducing environmental pollution. Around 23% of the 1 million tons of plastics consumed in Switzerland each year are used in the construction industry. But what happens to these materials after use?

As part of the Circular Building Industry Innovation Boosters project Circoplast , we analyzed volume flows and investigated measures for the reduction, reuse and recycling of plastics in construction. We identified great sustainability potential in the expansion of the circular economy. It also emerged that an increased exchange between the various stakeholders is considered to be expedient and is therefore desired(final report). And this is where this cycleworks comes in.


cycleworks serves as an exchange platform to create an in-depth and focused understanding of a system together with various stakeholders, to identify problems and to actively consider concrete solutions and their implementation.

The aim is to involve stakeholders along the entire value chain: Clients, planners, producers, contractors, dismantlers and recyclers as well as consultants and regulators - everyone is welcome and only together can we find practicable solutions.


The first two meetings to initiate the exchange of content are made possible by, swisspor and the Migros Pioneer Fund:

1st exchange: Wednesday, March 13, 2024, has taken place

2nd exchange: Wednesday, May 22, 2024, 08:45 - 12:00, Zurich near the main station

Between the events, the participants have time to discuss the content internally. This gives us the opportunity to structure the content and prepare it in a targeted manner for the next meeting. Necessary research and the activation of additional stakeholders are part of our preparation.


We started in cycleworks - Plastics in construction with a focus on the following topics:


  • Which collection, sorting and recycling systems already exist in the construction sector, and which are currently being set up or developed?
  • What options are there for expanding / merging existing systems?
  • What challenges (technical, logistical, financial, regulatory, etc.) are currently making it difficult to optimize the closed-loop recycling of plastics in the construction industry?

Regulations / enforcement:

  • Which regulators are known? Where/when are they used (and where not)?
  • Which existing regulations hinder or support the recycling of plastics from the construction industry?
  • How can enforcement help to promote plastics recycling in the construction industry?

Based on the discussions of the 1st exchange, the following ideas are planned for joint further development for the 2nd exchange:

  • Draw up an information sheet "Recycling potential of materials / components",
  • tackle the implementation of separate collection dismantling NOW,
  • set up a pilot project / test construction site,
  • Develop Design for Recycling / Circularity Guidelines
  • formulate a "wish list" for the authorities at national and cantonal level

There will also be enough space for personal exchange with the other participants.


At the end, the participants receive a "factsheet" prepared by realcycle with the most important findings from cycleworks.

The option to continue this exchange format on the topic of plastics in construction after the two meetings exists and depends, among other things, on the willingness of the participants.

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Please contact Maja Wiprächtiger.

Click here to register.


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