The “Be Circular Be Brussels” project aims to introduce and develop the circular economy, including reuse practices, in the Brussels region.
Launched by the Government of the Brussels Region, the project “Be Circular Be Brussels” (BCBB) ensures that environmental protection represents a source of economic opportunities and job creation for all the people of Brussels. The project seeks to stimulate an economy that is low in carbon, prioritises repair, re-use and recycling and meets the citizens’ needs.
Part of the wider “Regional Programme for a Circular Economy”, BCBB focuses on 4 sectors: food, 3R (reuse/repair/recycling), new bussiness models and construction. The construction sector and the entire building stock are essential driving forces for transitioning to a circular economy and creating local jobs, representing an important potential for re-use and innovation.
Every year within the construction field, the Brussels Government launches calls for proposals inviting private or public actors to put forward their initiatives/projects supporting durable activities. The objective is to avoid demolition where possible, and promote the reuse of building materials and components. Selected actors then benefit from financial help (≈ €30.000/project), extra visibility and specific assistance in business support services at regional level.
BCBB provides a holistic vision to circular construction by involving various ministerial competences (environment, economy, employment, training and waste management), different regional and municipal authorities as well as private and public actors.
The overarching “Regional Programme for a Circular Economy” is composed of 111 measures and a total budget of €13 million/year.
BCBB receives a total of €1,5 million/year to be distributed across the 4 sectors. The construction programme receives ≈ €250,000/ year and counts 2 full time employees.
Evidence of success
- Increasing awareness and incentivising building companies and managers to re-use more
- Development of a collaborative platform to locate/give equipment, materials and services between construction companies
- Increasing cooperation between public and private actors
- Numerous initiatives and tools exist or are still under development to promote re-use
- Lack of guarantees of re-used materials: studies on dismounted-remounted materials pending
- Need storage space for materials
- Cost of the workforce using re-usable materials
- Inadequate security and energy regulations for re-use
- Taxes are identical whether using re-used or new materials
Potential for learning or transfer
This circular project is unique in the sense that it is promoted by a regional public authority. In a bid to transition from a linear to a circular economy, the Brussels Government seeks to lead by example and provides strong incentives for a wide range of private and public actors to re-use more, avoid extraction of new natural resources and create more local jobs.
Re-using existing local materials, transforming them to extend their lifespan, and pooling resources are all practices that will help the construction sector achieve a circular economy. This kind of circular programme promoted by public authorities involving many different actors is replicable across EU regions.
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