How can circular economy be promoted in the Swedish stone material

I dokument How circular business models can increase the use of 3R s - a shift towards circular economy (sidor 34-38)

4. Findings

4.1. How can circular economy be promoted in the Swedish stone material

In general, the interviewees had a unified description regarding the definitions of the 3R’s: reuse, reduce, recycle. In the market analysis it was shown that there exists performance within all 3R’s. For instance, concrete is recycled by disassembling and crush it into fractions and use this as concrete aggregate.

Frequently mentioned reuse activities were excavated masses as filling and recycling aggregate as regular aggregate (which has been demarked from this study). Some respondents stated the tool Environmental product declaration (EPD) as an example that is used within projects and on specific stone material products, which aims to reduce the environmental impact.

Competitor, respondent 24 gives following example of performance:

We crush the concrete and sort out reinforcement and then we reuse the concrete in for instance road construction. So, it is possible, and it is happening.

Today, different services also exist that aims to increase circularity within the industry. For instance, Loop Rocks was a service that enabled efficient handling of masses between projects. It was owned by NCC, but absent investments led to decommissioning in 2019 (document 5). Another service, Pinpointer, is active today and operates in a similar way where it matches waste and masses with haulers through a big network. The services also secure environmental demands and documentation (document 4). Following, findings associated to question one is divided into its themes: economy, material, geography, and organisational changes.

4.1.1. Economy

Economy was a subject that occurred mostly as a barrier and the reasons for that was for instance expensive transports which leads to nearest quarry wins.

Project economy was pointed out as hampering the 3R’s since the demand of maximising projects (e.g., respondent 12 and 26). Lowest price wins, and the fact that circular activities such as recycling are expensive processes was also aspects that the respondents mentioned. Costs for documentation such as measuring processes, and higher price on recycled material than virgin material was according to the participants also barriers of increasing 3R’s.

Respondent 1:

There is very little profit to find recycled or reused materials in construction and other things. So, in current situation for stone materials I would say it is not pushed for in offer- or sale purpose in that way. Because the demand is not so great from our customers.

It appeared in the market analysis (e.g., interviewee 2, 30 and document 3), that since it is expensive with landfill services, in both handling and transportation costs, economic opportunities occur. In line with this, document 1 present possibility to have a quarry along landfill site can tend to create good business opportunities for organisations. There seem to be a unity of big potentiality to increase the 3R’s if reusing and recycling processes becomes more profitable than throwing away materials on landfill sites and only purchase virgin materials.

In order to reach global climate goals, document 3 claims adaption towards circular economy as a good tool.

4.1.2. Material

One issue that among respondent 14, 15, and 25 was raised about increasing the 3R’s based on material properties, was the ability to give same guarantee of quality on recycled or reused materials as virgin stone material. Other issues were risk of delivering contaminated material and that if reused or recycled material actually have lower quality, it cannot be used to same wideness (e.g., document 3). Some respondents also pointed out demand of material testing for take back service and lack of routine for it. In projects the issue regarding excess or deficit is often detected too late and due to lack of time, it is easier to buy virgin material.

It was also stated that today it is easier to transport away excess masses when they arise and transport in new material when it is needed. This because handling of masses between projects seems to be difficult. Another obstacle mentioned in document 1 is that the tracing of material becomes a problem when many

different parties handle it. Overall, the increased construction in society results in high demand for aggregate material (document 1).

4.1.3. Geography

From the interviews it became clear that geographical differences are interpreted by respondents. Conurbation experiencing greater number of masses, lack of sufficient storage space and challenges regarding transportation of masses (document 1, respondents 10, 20 and 29). In more sparsely populated area mentioned challenges was about long transports between quarries and projects, and long distances to another project. Quality of the stone materials and local differences of the personal engagement was also aspects that interviewees mentioned. Due to geographical challenges, many respondents believes that conurbation can improve the 3R’s, since the need for stone materials are big and constantly a lot of projects are running. However, the fact of long distance between projects in more sparsely populated areas would benefit improvements regarding increase the 3R’s within projects.

4.1.4. Organisational changes

Organisationally, respondents mean that adjusting the business models for being able to take back material is essential. Furthermore, the financial management to maximise every division’s’ and project’s profit may change to maximise on group level to escape from only considering economy. The stone material producers can take advantage of the existing quarries to produce recycled material at the same area, respondent 23 said:

I rather think that it is important to see these quarries as suitable places to recycle.

As a complement to the virgin production.

In general, the secondary data highlights desires for a transformation towards increased use of 3R’s as: coordination along value chains, customer requirements, knowledge, economic incentives, new business model, refine rules and permissions and long-term policy instruments.

Product portfolio

Some respondents shed light on selling the products in another way and to create a package service. For instance, respondents 5 and 6 said that existing service centre needs to come closer to the sale divisions. Further, other interviewees mean that the value proposition could consist of taking back

material and recycle it, to sell again. This could enable a bunch of other improvements as respondent 2 described it:

…by broadening the value proposition, we could be a bigger part of the customers’ business and build deeper relations as well as test new solutions together.

Knowledge internally was described as needed for increasing the 3R’s. The stone material producers must shape customer needs and create incentives through cheaper products and by educating customers and regulations makers. In line with educating customers, marketing should focus on what the material can be used for and to what price. Regarding recycled and reused material, respondents mean that common product descriptions and standards is needed to enable customers to know how and for what to use it. This will decrease uncertainties and make recycling and reusing possible, in other words bring waste into products. The industry today works with shaping End-of-Waste (EoW) criteria to overcome this obstacle. It was a clear message from respondent 28:

We must shape product descriptions, labels on products, and how they should be used. Every company must do this as has been done in the template in the end-of-waste documents. That document can act as a type of lowest level to regard concerning the material.

Further, also respondent 23 said:

I think that it should start with making something purchasable. Concretise these recycled products to shape demand for them.


To increase recycling and reusing, partnerships is required according to respondents. Shaping partnerships can support in collecting waste locally through developing common storage areas. The mass optimising service Pinpointer was talked about as something that is required in the industry, but difficulties arose about the responsibility of masses transported.


In the planning activities, companies must be able to see where excess masses occurs and plan for it in an earlier phase of projects. Since if doing it too late, the material cannot be recycled. To accomplish this, material investigations in advance can be done. Lastly, to coordinate masses among projects is a prerequisite to increase 3R’s, mentioned by many of the respondents. However, secondary data analysis shed light on the need of mass coordination on a

regional level to increase recycling and reusing of material. Document 1 describe that circularity must be integrated into the whole process: design phase, planning, procurement and in the building phase.

4.2. How are strategical prerequisites regarding the 3R’s in the

I dokument How circular business models can increase the use of 3R s - a shift towards circular economy (sidor 34-38)