What are the UCA materials?

The material scope or in other words the materials that are included in the analysis of the urban circularity, is wide. There is a specific material scope for the material flow accounting and another one for the stock accounting, which are presented in the two sections below.

Flow accounting - material scope

For the UCA method, Eurostat’s materials categories MF1 to MF4, Biomass, Metal Ores, Non-metallic Minerals and Fossil Energy Materials/Carriers respectively, and their waste materials, are at the centre of attention for the material boundaries. Water and energy are excluded. Data for these four categories and up until the 4-digit material group level are collected for domestic extraction, physical imports and exports, and DMC.

Next to these general categories, the remaining big groups in the table of MF5 - Other products, MF6 - Waste for final treatment and disposal, SM_FIN - Stage of Manufacturing - finished products, and SM_SFIN - Stage of Manufacturing - semi-finished products are required, in case a classification into the MF1-4 categories is unclear.

The below graphic illustrates the four big categories (MF1-MF4), with some exemplary items from MF material classes and groups, to get an understanding of the level of detail of the lower levels.

List of all materials

The EW-MFA classification system is based on material characteristics and, in some circumstances, their intended usage. It is hierarchical with four levels and three subcategories.

  1. At the most aggregated level are the main material categories (1-digit level) which vary from MF.1 to MF.8.
  2. Each material category is broken down into material classes (2-digit level),
  3. which are further broken down into material groups (3-digit level)
  4. and finally down to material sub-groups (4-digit-level) (Eurostat 2022).

On the most detailed level, EW-MFA data is accessible for 45 material categories, which can be aggregated into 16 and eventually four major material groupings.

List of waste

The information on municipal waste should be sorted and disaggregated according to its treatment (landfill, incineration, energy recovery, recycling and backfilling) and waste categories (chemical and medical wastes, recyclable wastes, equipment, biomass, mixed , mineral and metallic wastes).

Stock accounting - material scope

The material scope for the stock accounting in the UCA is not fixed or predetermined. While the scope of the stock is limited to residential and non-residential buildings, the material(s) that can be analysed depend on the data quality or in other words the material that can be found by you in the city’s building typologies’ material composition. Therefore, the number of materials can be different from city to city.

For example, in the analysis of the stock in Apeldoorn a total of 13 materials could be analysed, while in Bodø it was only two (concrete, wood).