Resources & circularity
3 min

Reduced use of non-renewable resources


At Saint-Gobain, we promote resource-efficient construction: a system-wide approach that looks at material flows over the life-time of a building. For new buildings, it means using less resource-intensive solutions, new technologies and new approaches to design. For renovation, that means using the existing building stock better. 

Did you know?


Share of the construction sector in worldwide raw material consumption


Share of the construction sector in worldwide solid waste streams

Should the construction sector turn to circular economy? 

  • key contributor to resource consumption and waste generation
  • extraction of non-metallic minerals
  • from linear to circular economy
Global material extraction, four main material categories, 1970-2017, million tons (UNEP, Global Resources Outlook 2019)


What is resource-efficient construction? 

  • systemic approach to sustainable construction
  • better usage of existing building stock
  • more efficient resource use for new buildings

Circular economy

Circular economy

What is recycled content?

  • Internal recycled raw material is the name of a material recovered directly during the production process. This waste is reintroduced in the process and does not leave the plant. It is not considered recycling in the traditional sense and as defined by the norm ISO 14021–1999.

  • Secondary materials are materials recovered from previous use or from waste. They substitute primary materials and are used as an ingredient in another product (e.g. scrap metal, crushed concrete, glass cullet,  recycled wood chips, recycled plastic, etc.).
    This secondary material is differentiated depending on the phase when the recovery occurs:

    • Pre-consumer waste corresponds to a material that was discarded before it was ready for consumer use. The difference with “internal recycled raw material” is that it is not reused within the same plant but supplied externally.

    • Post-consumer waste corresponds to a material discarded after someone has used it, collected, sorted and transformed into secondary raw material

  • Recycled content: the proportion, by mass, of recycled material in a product or packaging. Only pre-consumer and post-consumer materials (i.e. secondary materials) shall be considered as recycled content. (ISO 14021)
  • Renewable content: Material that is composed of biomass from a living source and that can be continually replenished. (ISO 14021)

  • Reusable: A characteristic of a product or packaging that has been conceived and designed to accomplish within its lifecycle a certain number of trips, rotations or uses for the same purpose for which it was conceived. (ISO 14021)

  • Recyclable: A characteristic of a product, packaging or associated component that can be diverted from the waste stream through available processes and programs and can be collected, processed and returned to use in the form of raw materials or products. (ISO 14021)


Which construction stage has the most potential impact to improve use of non-renewable resources?

  • design stage: material & building techniques
  • waste on jobsite (reuse, recycling, recovery)

How to implement it in buildings? 

  • Consider the building form in the inherent material efficiency of the structure

  • Potential trade-offs and benefits of material efficient and design options

  • Durable and reparable building components and systems

  • Fit-out materials

  • Recycled materials

How does Saint-Gobain contribute? 

  • EPD & recycled content declaration
  • Bespoke & customized size delivery (Gypsum Board)
  • Offsite manufacturing
  • Bespoke or cut to length services
  • Recycling services (plasterboard, mineral wool, glass, ...)
  • Bulk delivery
  • Products with recycled content