Problem Addressed

As reported by the Construction Products Association, over 90% of the UK’s construction and demolition waste is recovered for reuse, but this percentage can be misleading, as most of this recovered material is used as aggregate or downcycled in other ways. While we should continue reducing the amount of non-hazardous construction materials that end up in landfills, we also must facilitate the reuse of materials already available in our cities or entering the material stream via new construction projects. To implement circular economy principles into the construction industry, detailed information about specific materials and products must be collected and easily accessed to allow for more informed decisions during the material procurement process and to facilitate reuse industry-wide.

Solution Overview

Circular Passports®

Upcyclea® has already developed nearly 10,000 passports for a variety of materials and products. Information about their composition, recycled and bio-based content, reuse potential, and LCA is input directly from the manufacturers via free access to the platform.

Pictograms are used to allow for material data to be easily compared across products, and all information is qualified and rated by Upcyclea’s experts. Proven third-party information is highlighted with coloured pictograms and self-declared data is greyed out. Project or facilities management teams can also use the Upcyclea platform to create specific passports based on existing materials where no manufacturer data is available.

Circular Signature®

By integrating the data from multiple Circular Passports®, Upcyclea® can create a Circular Signature® for a given building. This signature can measure the degree of circularity, embodied CO2 footprint, material health values, as well as the residual economic value of a building which can be determined using the its products and materials based on recycling or reuse marketplace prices within the UK. This allows for detailed insights to be recorded at both the project and portfolio levels and allows project teams to set targets as well as manage and monitor in real time based on any changes to project materiality.

Digital Bank of Materials

When applied to a large building portfolio, the data aggregated by Upcyclea® can be used to develop a digital bank of materials, in line with the EU’s Buildings as Material Banks initiative. This allows for local authorities, developers, and property managers to more fully understand the resources contained within their buildings to better facilitate their eventual reuse. With detailed information regarding the quantity and quality of products and materials, sustainable deconstructions can be adequately prepared for, long-term economic value can be managed, and waste can be avoided. The platform also allows for existing buildings to be effectively deconstructed by allowing existing materials to be uploaded directly from pre-demolition or pre-refurbishment audits.

Reuse Library

It is essential that viable marketplaces for the trade and transfer of materials exist in order to spur reuse and Upcyclea® also features a robust reuse search engine, Noah which can help to correlate the supply of materials available for reuse with demand. When deconstructions alone cannot fulfil this demand, in-situ products can be sourced from alternative marketplaces, material depots, and other resource partners. Upcyclea have also developed the UK specific platform ROMULUS for driving large scale reuse among public and private organisations.

Case Study

Upcyclea collaborated on the One Nine Elms material passport pilot scheme to trial material passports on a live site. The pilot was the first of its kind in the UK and gathered data to help measure the circularity of the buildings. The information collected included carbon footprint, degree of circularity, material health indicators, and residual economic value. Upcyclea worked with manufacturers to obtain as much information about key products as possible and used generic sources of data when necessary. Some barriers to the implementation of material passports were identified, and these findings have helped develop material passport protocols for future projects. Best practices and effective strategies were included in a report of the pilot, and more information can be found at the link below.

Facts and Figures

10,000 Circular Passports
1,000 Generic Passports

This page presents data, evidence, and solutions that are provided by our partners and members and should therefore not be attributed to UKGBC. While we showcase these solutions for inspiration, to build consensus, and create momentum for climate action, UKGBC does not offer commercial endorsement of individual solutions. If you would like to quote something from this page, or more information, please contact our Communications team at