Image

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation: the transition to a circular economy

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works to inspire a generation to re-think, re-design and build a positive future circular economy.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation works to inspire a generation to re-think, re-design and build a positive future circular economy.

  • $100bn a year could be saved by adopting circular economy principles
  • 3bn tonnes of raw materials consumed by engineering and construction industry
  • 12m tonnes of plastic estimated to seep in to oceans each year

If the world perfected production and consumption in the twentieth century, today businesses in every sector are waking up to the fact that we need to become much better stewards of our planet’s diminishing resources. Arup has been a strategic partner to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation for the last three years, helping to develop ‘circular economy’ thinking and practices for a construction industry that has traditionally been far too wasteful with materials. 

We have already carried out research into closed loop design, manufacturing, and re-use in the field of products, buildings, technology, furniture, vehicles, and packaging. We have also designed and produced circular economy exemplar projects like the Circular House and the People’s Pavilion, Eindhoven at Dutch Design Week to inspire interest and adoption of this important new paradigm. 

Since 2007, more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas and this figure is forecast to rise to 60% by 2030. At the same time, a huge growth in middle class population is expected. Combined, these trends mean that the need to put a circular framework around urban development is more critical than ever before. ” Ellen MacArthur Founder, Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Designing the most advanced reusable building yet

Whilst timber can be a soundand sustainable material, a building that’s built around a zero waste ethos goes ever further. The Circular Building seeks to showcase how this can work in practice. Developed in conjunction with Frener & Reifer, BAM Construction and The Built Environment Trust, the design of this prototype building is fully aligned to circular economy principles developed through our work with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. In practice, this means that all components are tagged and logged on a ‘Materials Database’, allowing them to later be removed and reused, not wasted in landfill.

The circular building is a building built around a zero waste ethos.