As of August 2nd, we have used up all the Earth’s resources for the year 2023. This means that we are living worldwide as if we had 1.75 planets at our disposal – with devastating ecological and economic consequences. To reverse this trend, resource-intensive industries such as construction need to become more circular – the digital marketplace SECONTRADE offers an optimal solution for this.

Every year, the “Global Footprint Alliance” calculates the day when we start living beyond our means in terms of resources – and thus exhaust the Earth. In Austria, the national “Country Overshoot Day” was already on April 6th, the “Earth Overshoot Day” is celebrated worldwide a little later – but since 1971 continuously too early. To mitigate resource scarcity and global warming, the principle of circular economy is crucial for a livable future for upcoming generations.

Trouble’s brewing in CO2 consumption

The increasing demand for raw materials is exhausting the natural resources available. In the past 50 years, consumption has quadrupled worldwide, leaving behind bad air due to extraction, transport and use: CO2 emissions reached another peak in 2022 at 36.5 gigatonnes and are driving global warming – but not only that: unevenly distributed, limited available raw materials create high dependencies and fragile supply chains. This was most recently illustrated by massive shortages of sand and gravel in the construction industry, which is considered one of the most resource-intensive sectors.

Sustainable construction as the base for a circular economy

The construction sector is responsible for half of the raw materials mined worldwide and represents the largest volume of waste within the EU. The goal of the European Green Deal and the Austrian circular economy strategy is therefore to realising the potential for resource efficiency in this sector, for example through higher recycling of demolition material, especially mineral construction waste and the associated increase in the amount of secondary raw materials. This requires innovative approaches along the value chain: the recycling of old bricks, for example, represents an alternative to sand and gravel. The correct treatment makes it possible to use it as a substrate for path construction, green roofs or sports fields and, in combination with used concrete, is an example of cement-free recycled concrete.

„Move the Date“ – SECONTRADE as a part of the solution

Increasing resource efficiency in the construction industry has thus become a top priority in order to postpone the overshoot. In line with the motto “Move the Date”, all interfaces must be taken into account to enable a closed loop. SECONTRADE recognised this early on and brings together demand and supply of high-quality secondary resources, including construction waste, on the digital marketplace. In this way, the platform supports sustainable resource management in Austria and Europe and makes an important contribution to a climate-neutral future.