The construction sector is particularly material-intensive: in Germany, around 28 million tonnes of cement and 15 million tonnes of steel are required annually for the construction of new buildings, roads and other infrastructure such as bridges and railways. At the same time, mineral construction waste is one of Germany’s largest waste fractions. If the construction sector is to operate sustainably, it must make sparing use of resources and ensure high-quality recycling of as much of its waste fraction as possible in the interests of a circular economy. The anthropogenic material stock – the pool of raw materials created by human activity – is growing continuously and offers immense potential as a source of secondary raw materials. Urban mining, which involves the recycling and recovery of raw materials, is set to become a priority in the resource transition.
The Oeko-Institut conducts research on various topics relating to the sustainable production, use and recycling of building materials. It calculates and forecasts resource consumption, conducts analyses of material flows and recovery paths for metals and mineral resources, and generates scenarios for sustainable management of building materials.