Yannick Pau, projectmanager Luxembourg Ministery of Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development

How does Luxembourg address the concepts of the circular economy and more specifically in the field of construction?  

In June 2022, the Luxembourg government adopted a law that amends the waste law from 2012. As a result, the notions of reuse and re-cycling are more present in the "waste" law, in order to privilege a more globalized management of waste and resources.  

This paradigm shift is also supported by two national strategies:  

- the "Zero Waste Strategy" ("Null Offall Lëtzebuerg"), which aims to adopt a forward-looking approach towards resource conservation through the principles of the circular economy, and  

- the "Strategy for a Circular Economy Luxembourg" which is part of the efforts to define a common vision for Luxembourg's transition to a fully circular country. The latter brings together tools for the authorities to accelerate the implementation of the circular economy at the national level across several sectors, including the construction sector.  

What concrete steps have been taken? What are the next steps? 

In Luxembourg, the construction sector is responsible for the largest part of the overall waste stream with 9 million tons generated in 2020. Considering that most of this waste is disposed of, it is important to avoid wasting resources that are largely non-renewable.  In order to address an element of this theme, concrete initiatives have been launched in close exchange with public and private actors. These initiatives are described below.  

A project of general technical clause (CTG) "deconstruction and demolition" has been developed in collaboration with the CRTI-B (Centre de Ressources des Technologies et de l'Innovation pour le Bâtiment), the LIST and several economic operators in the construction field. Its aim is to provide a practical tool to public actors, in order to align their deconstruction projects with the principles of the circular economy in the context of public procurement. Currently, actors from the field can test the implementation of these recommendations (without being mandatory). After this transitional phase, feedback will be collected in order to finalize and validate the draft GTC. 

The second document put in place this year is the guide for deconstruction which complements the CTG in order to facilitate its implementation by public actors and the adoption, in general, of good practices in deconstruction activities. The deconstruction guide contributes to the objectives of the national strategies, promoting not only deconstruction and selective sorting, but also the reuse of construction materials. 

In addition, in the context of the reduction of construction waste, the provisions of the waste law have been refined and even supplemented. Thus, the implementation of an "inventory of construction materials" prior to the deconstruction of a building, aims at identifying and carefully documenting the materials, their volumes and their locations, with a view to a better selective sorting and a possible reuse, which would also reduce the costs of conventional recycling. 

Finally, the implementation of a digital logbook of construction materials is planned for January 1, 2025. This will promote the management of buildings as a material bank, while facilitating the sustainable management of materials during the transformation of buildings, selective deconstruction, selective sorting and re-use. Through a field survey launched in the summer of 2022, we have involved the relevant stakeholders in the process in order to define the regulatory framework of this registry in a consensual manner. 

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