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Walking the talk towards sustainable consumption: interventions to promote the uptake of reprocessed construction materials

Gihan Anuradha Tennakoon (UniSA STEM, Center for Sustainable Infrastructure and Resource Management (SIRM), University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Raufdeen Rameezdeen (UniSA STEM, Center for Sustainable Infrastructure and Resource Management (SIRM), University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia)
Nicholas Chileshe (UniSA STEM, Center for Sustainable Infrastructure and Resource Management (SIRM), University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia) (Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 28 February 2023

179

Abstract

Purpose

The uptake of reprocessed construction materials (RCMs) derived from demolition waste (DW) is limited, which questions the long-term sustainability of DW reverse logistics (RL). To address this gap, the current study focused on identifying informational and structural interventions to promote the uptake of RCMs among Australian construction professionals (CPs).

Design/methodology/approach

Following a qualitative research approach with thirty-one semi-structured interviews, the study explored potential interventions that can drive broader RCM usage. The study's strength lies in the in-depth qualitative insights gathered through extensive interviews with CPs experienced in using RCMs.

Findings

Sixteen informational and structural interventions to promote the uptake of RCMs were identified and mapped against the industry levels at which they should be implemented. RCM suppliers should focus on improving material quality, supply and marketing while minimising material costs. Governments should encourage using RCMs through incentivisation, supportive legislation and approval processes. The significance of awareness building and research was also recognised, which requires the collective efforts of suppliers, governmental and non-governmental bodies and educational institutes.

Originality/value

Despite the talk around sustainable consumption, the actual walk towards this is limited from a construction perspective, as seen through the low uptake of RCMs. This study attempts to bridge this mismatch by outlining informational and structural interventions that would drive CPs to walk the talk and use RCMs for construction applications. While most studies on DW RL have focused on improving waste recovery processes, this study takes a less-trodden path and explores the potential for developing markets for RCMs.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge the Australian Government's financial support through an Australian Government Research Training Program international (RTPi) Scholarship for PhD studies and support from the University of South Australia. The authors also acknowledge that this paper is an extended version of the paper titled “Towards sustainable consumption: Enhancing the use of reprocessed construction materials within the Australian construction industry” presented at the 45th Australasian Universities Building Education Association (AUBEA) 2022 Conference.

Citation

Tennakoon, G.A., Rameezdeen, R. and Chileshe, N. (2023), "Walking the talk towards sustainable consumption: interventions to promote the uptake of reprocessed construction materials", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-11-2022-1040

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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