Journal of Circular Economy

An applied scholarly journal on circular economy

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Industry and Literature Review of Urban Mining Applications in the United States: Gaps and Drivers for Implementation Towards a Circular Industrialized Construction Economy

Felix Heisel, Alexandra Ciobanu, Joseph McGranahan

Under a Creative Commons license


Due to an increased awareness among stakeholders of the construction industry’s detrimental environmental impacts, demand for circular and sustainable practices has increased significantly. The objective of this literature and industry scoping review is to analyze the current construction industry in the United States to determine emerging trends and developments in sustainable and circular design and construction, focusing on one of the concepts, Urban Mining, and its potential applications. In the context of this paper, Urban Mining is defined as the reclamation of materials, elements or components from existing decommissioned buildings which were not designed for deconstruction or adaptability with the goal to reuse (or recycle) these elements in new construction projects.

As this paper provides an outlook on technologies, materials, and practices that are emerging, there is a gap in available literature (reviewed or scientific sources) on the selected topic. Market reports, case study reports, and/or governmental and company websites are used to identify legislation, stakeholders, and changing practices pertinent to Urban Mining. By synthesizing deconstruction prospects for material groups and building components, gaps in Urban Mining practices are identified, including the documentation of building components, processing tools for reclaimed material, and technological, logistical, and legal infrastructures for reuse


Urban Mining, Circular Economy, Deconstruction, Material Recovery, Waste Reduction, Adaptive Reuse


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