'Circular Construction Challenge — Rethink Waste' Reveals Six Ideas to Reduce Waste in the Built Environment Competing for the Three Winning Spots on Innovation Fast Track in 2019

The Circular Construction Challenge jointly organised by the Danish philanthropic association Realdania and the Danish Design Centre targets Danish waste innovators, that reuse, recycle and upcycle waste to new transformative solutions in the built environment and connects them to team members from all over the world. The goal of the initiative is to facilitate an international collaboration and exchange of ideas to identify, develop, and scale new solutions to the massive waste and resource challenges threatening the construction sector today.

21 Nov 2018 -

With this challenge we hope to show that it is in fact possible to have a circular mindset, and we hope to come up with some scalable solutions that are ready to be used in the sector,” commented Simon Kofod-Svendsen from Realdania.

This is an opportunity to use design to solve a major global challenge: the massive waste overload in the built environment. By designing solutions to rethink waste, we can meet the global goals and shape a better and more sustainable future,” added Christian Bason, CEO of Danish Design Centre.

Earlier this year ISWA was invited to become an official partner of the challenge thanks to its wide-reaching network of waste management professionals.


After the initial stages of the competition during which Circular Construction Challenge called Denmark-based innovators to submit their circular economy solutions, the six ideas were announced at the annual Building Green Conference held in Copenhagen at the end of October.


The six finalists are:

  • Circular Alternative by Golder Associates – reused timber in large-scale retail sale is a system where timber from temporary constructions at construction sites is collected and sold for reuse via the building market STARK.
  • RePanel by Vandkunsten - wall lining made of construction waste from renovations and demolition sites. The final product is a flexible, modular system with highly profiled identities – patterns, materials, and shapes – which are both decorative and assist in insulation.
  • From Waste To Biomaterial by Søren Jensen Consulting Engineers - a new sustainable building material – like baffle plates and insulation – produced by growing fungus/mycelium spores in waste flows, which can replace existing building materials with negative environmental impacts. 
  • Urban Mining Of Masonry RGS Nordic - reused brickwork or masonry and concrete transformed into a robust material to be used to construct walls.
  • Digichalk by Odico Formwork Robotics - is a building module that combines Styrofoam waste with chalkstone and cement through innovative robot technology. The material has the same insulation effect as Styrofoam, the same density as concrete and the look of chalkstone.
  • Reskur by Krydsrum Arkitekter - a building system for sheds (e.g. for bikes, waste bins or office supplies) made from recycled timber and tiles from roof material waste.

There is no silver bullet when it comes to making the construction sector more circular, but the six finalists have developed very qualified examples of how future circular solutions could look and of how to think circular rather than linear in the construction sector – some of which clearly have the possibility to be scaled globally,” says Chris Murphy, ISWA Representative and one of the nine experts in selection committee that chose the six finalists.


Alongside communications, events and dissemination support as the official Circular Construction Challenge partner, ISWA facilitated a feedback session with the ISWA Working Group on Recycling and Waste Minimisation (WGRWM) Members, who contributed valuable comments and recommendations to the six finalists with emphasis on the sustainability, waste and resource management aspects of each proposal. The session was led by Björn Appelqvist, Chair of ISWA Scientific and Technical Committee, and the list of contributing Working Group experts included: Henning Friege (N3 Nachhaltigkeitsberatung Dr. Friege & Partner), Håkon Jentoft (City of Oslo Renovasjonsetaten), Anne Scheinberg (Springloop Cooperatie U.A), Anil Mehrotra (Hampton/NASA Steam Plant), Andreas Linnet (Ramboll), Maarten Goorhuis (NVRD), and Kostyantyn Pivnenko (Technical University of Denmark).


I am proud of ISWA being able to present a diverse and very competent team of experts. To me, the way we approached the task has shown that ISWA, with its’ huge pool of expert, quickly and efficiently can provide targeted and knowledgeable feedback on specific issues. I am very enthusiastic about the Circular Construction Challenge and I hope that the finalists of the challenge find our feedback useful in further work on their cases. I am really looking forward to seeing how the cases will develop from now on until late January”, says Björn Appelqvist.


The six finalists will now focus on developing materials and building their teams to submit the final team profile, MoUs and business plans no later than the 15th of January 2019. The final list of the three winning teams, which will receive funding opportunity of up to DKK 1,000,000 (€130,000) each, join the six-month long innovation & co-creation process, and finally build the prototypes, will be announced in late January. Exact dates to be confirmed.


The Application Process for Team Members is Now Open


The six finalists are looking for Danish as well as international businesses, startups, organizations, waste suppliers, researchers etc., who will support the teams and enter the innovation process if their team is selected. As a team member in the Circular Construction Challenge, you can help turn one of the six finalist ideas into a winning solution. If your team wins, you will have access to innovation and financial support to develop a prototype during the six-month long third phase in 2019.


Application deadline is the 3rd of December 2018. Read more about the six ideas competing in the Circular Construction Challenge - Rethink Waste on the official website. Apply online here:


About ISWA


ISWA – the International Solid Waste Association – is a global, independent and non-profit making association, working in the public interest to promote and develop sustainable and professional waste management. ISWA is open to individuals and organisations from the scientific community, public institutions and companies working in the field of and/or interested in waste management.


About Realdania

Realdania is a member-based philanthropic organisation who primarily works in Denmark. We have around 150,000 members. We grew out of a mortgage credit association that for more than 150 years provided home owners with mortgage loans. We support large and small projects that contribute to reaching our philanthropic goals and our mission: To create quality of life for all through the built environment. We use the return of our equity to support projects in the built environment: cities, buildings, and the built heritage.


About Danish Design Centre

The Danish Design Centre is a self-governing institution established in Copenhagen in 1978. Through funding from mainly the Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs, The Greater Capital Region and other funds DDC is pursuing it’s mission - promoting the use of design in business and industry. The main way we do this is by giving companies and organisations an opportunity to test how design practices can boost innovation, development and growth.






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