Three Winning Ideas Looking to Reduce Waste in the Built Environment Named in the Circular Construction Challenge – Rethink Waste

Last year ISWA was invited to become an official partner of an exciting initiative organised by the Danish philanthropic association Realdania and the Danish Design Centre – the Circular Construction Challenge – Rethink Waste. The challenge aims 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. After the preliminary selection of the best ideas to reduce waste in the built environment, three winning solutions were finally announced today.

5 Feb 2019 -

The Circular Construction Challenge – Rethink Waste launched in August 2018 calling Danish material pioneers, designers, engineers, architects, craftsmen and construction companies - startup, SME and corporate - business innovators and tech experts to apply for a chance to realize their innovative ideas. A total of 39 submissions were received from Danish based companies, out of which six proposals entered the next preparatory stage of the challenge. 


The world needs new solutions in the built environment. Construction is on the rise, and we need new circular methods to meet the massive challenges of waste generation and use scarce resources. Therefore, there is an urgent need for supporting the development and increasing innovation. Danish companies are at the forefront of this development, and with this challenge we aim to promote the best ideas, bringing new solutions from Denmark to the world,” said Nina Kovsted Helk, Director of Philanthrophy Realdania. 


ISWA was one of the global outreach partners, who disseminated the call for international team members to support the six teams competing for the three available funding opportunities of up to DKK 1,000,000 (€130,000) each, combined with the six-month long innovation & co-creation process. Anyone in the global circular ecosystem with competencies and expertise in relation to the chosen ideas was invited to join and, once selected by one of the six teams, contribute to the development of the solutions ahead of the final Selection Committee meeting. The Circular Construction Challenge received a little less than 100 applications from Danish and international professionals coming from business, startup, commercial, waste management, and academic background.


International Solid Waste Association is the world’s leading waste management network and we are proud that this global connectedness could be used to spread awareness about such an important and current project,” commented Arne Ragossnig, ISWA’s Interim Managing Director.


Today, the three winning ideas exploring how to reuse, recycle and upcycle waste for new building materials selected by an international committee of experts in circular economy and construction were announced.


The three ideas demonstrate how we can use fungi grown in waste as insulation, sell reused timber from construction sites in large-scale retail sale and build sheds from discarded building materials from roof renovations:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The Circular Construction Challenge – Rethink Waste will now enter phase three, made up of innovation & co-creation bootcamps, preparing the three teams to showcase their prototypes and get access to national and international key stakeholders such as investors, buyers and organisations interested in further supporting the ideas in Autumn 2019.


About the Circular Construction Challenge


As the world’s population grows and global urbanization is on the rise, we continue to build and generate massive amounts of waste. Globally, 1.3 billion tons of solid waste is generated every year – half of this waste comes from building materials. Through a year-long program from 2018-2019, innovators from all over the world will have the chance to realize new solutions that will transform the way we think about waste in the built environment.


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.


For further information or press inquiries, please contact


Simon Kofod-Svendsen
Head of Projects, Realdania
sks(at) / +45 20 94 89 95
Monica Maria Moeskær
Senior Project Manager, Danish Design Centre
mmm(at) / +45 40 56 00 76

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