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Holcim and Seqens is building world’s first recycled concrete building

The construction/demolition industry is considered one of the largest producers of solid wastes globally. The huge amount of construction and demolition wastes (CDW) has been generated from increasing the building of new structures, renovation, rebuilding, repair, demolition works, and infrastructure development projects. Large quantities of construction and demolition wastes (CDW) cause harmful effects on the environment if they are not managed in a proper manner.

Recycling construction materials can significantly reduce the environmental impact of the industry. The use of recycled aggregate has been explored to lead  a sustainable future as it provides an alternative to traditional natural concrete. In regard to these, there has been a move towards recycled concrete building. It is a construction method that involves using concrete that has been recycled from previous construction projects or demolition sites. 

Recycled concrete can be used as a building material for various purposes, such as foundations, walls, floors, and pavements. The process of recycling concrete involves breaking down the old concrete into smaller pieces and then using it as an aggregate in new concrete mixes. This method not only reduces waste and landfill space but also conserves natural resources, as it reduces the need for new aggregates. Drawing on its formulation expertise, Holcim’s Innovation Center developed the world’s first fully recycled concrete project in which different components such as cement and aggregates are made of recycled materials.Holcim has partnered with Seqens, a social housing provider in France for building the the Recygénie project

World’s first recycled concrete building

Built with this unique recycled concrete solution, the Recygénie project represents a breakthrough in circular construction. The Recygénie project is part of a renewal program launched by the City of Gennevilliers, located in the northwest suburbs of Paris. The project will offer new and diversified housing including both social and private housing as part of a redevelopment of the entire district.

The building will be a 220-unit housing complex, including 70 social housing units, located outside Paris. Construction is currently underway, with completion expected in Q4 2024.

 Features of recycled concrete being used in Recygénie project

This unique recycled concrete to be used in the project was produced using ECOCycle®, Holcim’s proprietary circular technology platform to recycle construction and demolition waste (CDW) into new building solutions. Amid rising population growth and urbanization, circular solutions are essential for keeping materials in use to stay within our planet’s boundaries while we improve living standards for all.

To build Recygénie, Holcim will use a concrete it has developed in which all components -cement, aggregates, and water – are made of recycled materials. The organization says its recycled cement has saved about 3,000 tons of natural resources that would have been extracted from quarries. Holcim’s concrete – made with recycled aggregates from construction and demolition waste, recycled wastewater, and rainwater — has saved more than 6,000 tons of natural resources.

Edelio Bermejo, head of Global R&D at Holcim, said, “We need to shift gears: from a linear “take-make-waste” economy to a circular one, to improve living standards for all, while staying within our planet’s limits. The development of the world’s first fully recycled concrete in this social housing project marks a major milestone for us, as we want to make circular construction accessible to all, as the norm and not the exception. I am proud to put this innovation to work in the Recygénie project, making sustainable housing accessible to all.”

Recycled concrete from construction waste

100% recycled clinker for the Recygénie project

The Recygénie project builds on another world first: a 100% recycled clinker produced by Holcim in June 2022. This clinker was used to produce fully recycled cement for use in the custom concrete, saving approximately 3,000 tons of natural resources that would have been extracted from quarries.

The concrete was made exclusively with aggregates from recycled CDW, and with recycled wastewater and rainwater.

Circular solution for the Recygénie project

The fully recycled concrete developed for the Recygénie project contains the highest level of recycled material in Holcim’s range of circular solutions.

Because French building standards limited the use of recycled material in new construction, Holcim engaged in a special monitoring program of the French national organization for R&D in the construction industry (CSTB) to make Recygénie with this first-of-its-kind concrete possible.

As building standards evolve in Europe, Holcim is ready to deploy circular solutions at scale with ECOCycle.

Circular solution for the Recygénie project


Today cities are keen to learn about this type of innovation to meet the growing demand for housing in urban areas while using resources more efficiently and in an environmentally friendly way.With the increasing importance being put on green construction, recycling will give you a competitive edge. Holcim is at the forefront of it and recycling CDW new building solutions.The company has already launched the world’s first cement with recycled CDW in Switzerland and is working to scale this solution up across Europe.

References holcim.com, bdcnetwork.com, aggbusiness.com, cemnet.com


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