Building waste


Made in

Circular 217 Recyclable 119 Recycled 123 Cement 3 Ceramic waste 4 Granite 3

Building waste

Photos: Mayra Deberg Alencar

A Contribution of Design to the Waste Problem Generated by the Construction Industry

The construction industry is recognised as one of the most polluting sectors globally, with substantial environmental, social, and economic impacts throughout its production process. Construction and demolition waste (CDW), constituting about one-third of global waste, is a significant challenge, particularly in urban areas. To address these issues, aligning the construction industry with the principles of the circular economy (CE) is considered a potential solution.

Resource management, focusing on raw material efficiency, and the reuse and/or recycling of residual materials generated by the construction industry, are essential practices to reduce the impact and incorporate circularity in the construction sector. This study, stemming from a master's dissertation at the University of Porto, Faculty of Fine Arts, aimed to investigate strategies for minimising the impact of construction waste by reusing and/or recycling materials for applications in product design.

The research focused on collecting the local flow of Construction and Demolition Waste (RCD) in the Metropolitan Area of Porto, Portugal, from construction and demolition sites; eco-centers responsible for managing this waste flow, and organisations involved in treating such waste. Additionally, the research incorporated granite powder waste from the natural stone industry as a strategy to reduce virgin materials associated with the created composition.

The created material is based on the reinterpretation of the traditional terrazzo technique, originally conceived by Venetian construction workers as a low-cost, flexible, and sustainable material. It is applied in a series of decorative objects.

Additional information

About the materials used, only the cement is a virgin material, acquired through purchase. The construction and demolition waste used in the project comes from recycled materials, post-consumer waste from waste collection and management centres, waste management operators, and construction sites. Additionally, the granite dust and some of the natural stone waste used are pre-consumer waste, resulting from the extraction and cutting of these stones, acquired from stonemasons, for instance. All the waste was collected in the Metropolitan Area of Porto, especially in the municipalities of Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, and Santa Maria da Feira. It's worth noting that the preparation of materials and the crafting of the pieces are entirely manual.

Information submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank.


Construction and demolition waste - granite and marble stone, ceramic brick, glass, ceramic tile; granite dust and cement


Rui Mendonça, Bárbara Rangel, Cláudia Lima, Alcides Rodrigues, University of Porto, Costa Almeida Ambiente, Lipor, Grampedra, Felisberto Mármores e Granitos, TCC White Stone