Concepts Inspiration

The Untapped Value of Organic Waste in Construction

What if instead of sending our organic waste to the landfill, incinerator or compost pile, we could give it another life as bricks, panels, carpets or insulation?

Arup, the design and engineer firm, says this is not only possible, it’s a very valuable opportunity. In their latest report, The Urban Bio Loop, Arup aims to demonstrate a different, circular paradigm for materials in construction where exploiting the untapped value of organic waste could lead to positive impacts not only for the environment, but also from a technical, social, and economic standpoint.

“We have a fantastic opportunity to both sequester carbon and reduce waste by using more biological material in construction. We must capitalise on this opportunity by developing suitable materials and putting them into production,” says Tristram Carfrae, Arup Fellow and Deputy Chairman.

In The Urban Bio Loop, Arup lays out the case for using more organic waste in construction, as part of a circular value chain. Arup also provides practical guidelines for designers and practitioners for replacing traditional architectural products with equivalent products made with organic waste. Arup shares a more longterm vision as well:

“For the long term we explored to which extent both our cities and urban districts could become self-sustaining – at least partially – from a feedstock point of view. This would be through the active implementation of organic waste streams into the supply chain of building construction products.”

Download the full report here, or visit


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