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Sector-wide Circularity Assessment
for the construction sector


The EU Horizon 2020 funded CityLoops project focuses on closing the material loops of two central sectors of any city in terms of material flows, societal needs and employment, namely the construction and biomass sectors. Due to their sizes, they represent a considerable opportunity for cities to transform their metabolism and economy towards a more circular state.

Within this project, seven European cities, amongst those also the City of Apeldoorn are planning to implement demonstration actions to kickstart their circularity journey. To better understand what the current circularity status quo is, as well as the impact of these actions, and the efforts needed to transform their sector, a Sector-Wide Circularity Assessment method was developed. This method combines a circular city and circular sector definition, a material flow and stock accounting method, as well as circularity indicators. The sector itself was defined in terms of a number of representative materials that make up a large share of the sector and associated economic activities. The construction sector is made up of 11 materials, depicted as icons here, which were studied along the entirety of their supply chains. Altogether, these elements help to set a solid knowledge and analytical foundation to develop future circularity roadmaps and action plans.

Bitumen / asphalt
Iron (steel)
Sand and gravel

The assessment was carried out by the cities themselves after receiving extensive training in the form of courses on data collection (construction and biomass) and data processing. Numerous additional insights can be found in the individual Data Hubs of each city.

This current Sector-Wide Circularity Assessment report provides contextual information on the city and the economic sector under study. It then illustrates how circular these sectors are through circularity indicators and a Sankey diagram. Finally, it analyses and interprets the results, presents the limitations from the data used and offers recommendations about how to make this sector more circular.

(* The italic texts in this report were written by Metabolism of Cities' Aristide Athanassiadis and Carolin Bellstedt. They provide relevant general information and serve as connecting elements of the single report parts.)

Urban context

To contextualise the results of the sector-wide circularity assessment, this section provides population and land use information data of the city. In addition, population and area of the city under study, as well as its corresponding NUTS3, NUTS2 and country were included. Data for these scales were added to better understand how relevant and important the approximations are when downscaling data from these scales to a city level.

341 km2
1,860 km2
5,136 km2
41,543 km2

Population of Apeldoorn

The population of Apeldoorn has been increasing significantly over the past decades. The population grew from 149,869 inhabitants in 1990 to well over 163,818 in 2020, a growth of 9.3%.

Land use

  • Agriculture
  • Built area
  • Dry natural terrain
  • Forest
  • Greenhouse horticulture
  • Industrial area
  • Main road
  • Railway
  • Recreation
  • Semi-built area
  • Water
  • Wet natural terrain

Data source

The land use of the municipality of Apeldoorn is dominated by forests, agricultural use and built-up area. About half of Apeldoorn’s area is covered by forests, and even becomes well over half of the area, when including other natural terrains. The city itself has a strong urban character, which mainly consists of residential areas and business parks. The rural area of the municipality combines forested and agricultural lands with various smaller towns that are all part of the municipality.

Economic context of construction sector

This section puts into perspective the economic context of the sector under study. It describes how many people are employed in this sector, as well as who the main actors involved (from all lifecycle stages for the sector’s materials) are.

GDP (monetary value, in €) Employees
Apeldoorn 950,000,000 4,200
Veluwe 4,720,000,000 18,900
Gelderland 9,675,000,000 42,800
Netherlands 75,225,000,000 332,800

The construction sector in Apeldoorn

The local construction sector is one of the smaller economic branches in the municipality of Apeldoorn. The biggest sectors in terms of employment are healthcare, wholesale and retail and administrative and support services in Apeldoorn. Important to note is that also not all companies in the construction sector are all active (solely) locally, as well as that there are also various actors active in the region that are not located within the region (Circulaire Atlas Gelderland, 2019).

The actors of the construction sector

There are no raw material extraction companies in Apeldoorn, making Apeldoorn highly dependent on imports from the region, the Netherlands, or the rest of the world. This is a characteristic of the Netherlands as a whole as more raw materials (minerals, biomass, metals and fossil materials) are imported rather than extracted locally.

There are three local waste collection sites: Circulus-Berkel, SITA Recycling and Atterro Wilp. Circulus-Berkel is the company that collects all household waste in the municipality of Apeldoorn. From that location, the materials are redistributed to other companies where they are treated (recycling, incineration, landfilling etc.). A few companies treat non-hazardous waste, and most companies are active in the recovery of sorted materials. It is important to note, that these are all companies categorized under the NACE-codes 37, 38 and 39. These NACE-codes are non-material specific and therefore some companies might not be active in the collecting or treating waste from biomass or construction sector.


To monitor the progress of this economic sector towards circularity, a number of indicators were proposed and measured. Altogether, these indicators depict several facets of circularity of the sector. As such, they need to be considered in combination rather than in isolation when assessing circularity. In addition, these indicators can be compared to other cities or spatial scales (such as the country level). However, this has to be done with great care and use of the contextual elements in the previous sections of the report. Finally, the value measured from these indicators can be traced over time to track the sector’s progress towards circularity.

Indicator number Indicator Value Unit
34 Domestic material consumption (DMC) 853,422.03 Tonnes/year
39 Circular Material Use Rate -26.55 %
48 EU self-sufficiency for raw materials 0.73 %
55 EOL-RR (End of Life Recycling Rate) 9.28 %
57 Amount of sector specific waste that is produced 44,314.46 Tonnes/year
58 End of Life Processing Rate 30.00 %
59 Incineration rate 4.77 %
61 Landfilling rate 11.63 %

The indicator table above describes calculated values for the mandatory indicators for the Sector-wide Circularity Assessment. There is no information on the indicator values over time, as there was only data collected, processed, and analysed for one year: 2018. However, these indicator values can be compared to values from other geographical scales. It is especially relevant to compare per capita or percentage values from the Netherlands level to those of Apeldoorn. In comparing these values, multiple issues arose. In many cases. the data from Apeldoorn was significantly different from those of the values of Netherlands as a whole. It is difficult to pinpoint whether Apeldoorn is truly performing on these indicators with the presented values or that the calculated values of the material flows are just not representative for Apeldoorn.

DMC is in Apeldoorn 853,422 tonnes. The per capita value for this is around 5.2 tonnes of domestic (construction) material consumption. For the Netherlands, this value that includes metal ores, non-metallic minerals and fossil energy materials/carriers is around 5.8 tonnes per capita. This indicates that Apeldoorn is performing slightly better in terms of material consumption. However, the stated material consumption of the Netherlands comprises more materials than only construction materials. Therefore, it is likely that Apeldoorn is consuming more non-biomass materials per capita than an average citizen in the Netherlands. Then, the value for the Circular Material Use rate (39) is -27% which is unlikely, as the Dutch CMU rate is 30 percent. It is unclear what could explain the minus value for CMU.


Measuring circularity is a data heavy exercise. Numerous datasets were collected and visualised throughout the sector-wide circularity assessment process. To synthesise these findings, a Sankey diagram illustrates how material flows from the studied economic sector are circulating from one lifecycle stage to another. The height of each line is proportional to the weight of the flow. This diagram therefore helps to quickly have an overview of all the materials flows that compose the sector and their respective shares. The flows that are coloured in light blue in the Sankey diagram, are return flows. This means that they flow in the opposite direction of the lifecycle stages and are subjected to reuse, redistribution, or remanufacturing. Their size relative to the others is a good indication for the materials' circularity.