Abhishek Chhazed
Circular-Valley-startups: Next big step for green construction
The initiative for the circular economy promotes young companies whose ideas can prevent billions of tons of emissions. One of this batch's main topics: the construction industry. One of the solutions: bricks and cobblestones from industrial plastic waste.

The enormity of so-called "grey energy" can be best understood in two numbers: around 4.5 billion tons of cement are produced worldwide every year, constituting about 8 percent of total global CO2 emissions. Because the construction must urgently become more sustainable, it is one of the core themes of the Circular Valley® funding program. Currently, 14 startups from around the world have travelled to Germany's extended Rhine-Ruhr region to further develop their business models. The ideas being developed could have a "giga-impact", meaning they can reduce emissions on the scale of billions of tons.

One of the companies is RecycleX from India. The startup uses industrial waste and disposed plastic to make its products. For instance, industrial slag, fly ash and metal waste are used to create new bricks, cobblestones, tiles, planters, benches, and curbstones. A RecycleX "Fly Ash Brick" contains no natural resources and avoids one kilogram of CO2.

The benefit of RecycleX's solution is therefore twofold: waste is eliminated because materials are circulated, and the need for new cement is significantly reduced, thereby lowering the overall climate impact. RecycleX is relevant for a wide range of potential partners, ranging from waste collectors, over the established industry and construction companies. The startup's solution is particularly relevant for growing regions in the world that need to expand their infrastructure.

RecycleX has already received a lot of attention for its ideas, and now its goal is to implement them on the largest possible scale. The Circular Valley® funding program supports this goal in several ways: with top-notch coaches and mentors, startups can further develop their business models. Moreover, they have the opportunity to meet numerous partners from the Circular Valley® network in the extended Rhine-Ruhr region, leading to investments, collaborations, and business partnerships.

Green building has been a reoccuring topic in Circular Valley® since the initiative's launch in the summer of 2021. Among the more than 60 startups that have participated in the accelerator program so far, are Strawcture, Polycare, and Concular.

Strawcture's solution is in the name: straw. While straw is typically burned in India thereby significantly polluting the air, the startup transforms this straw into building blocks instead. The blocks are not only fire-resistant and have thermal and acoustic insulation properties, but can also bind up to 30 kilograms of CO2 per square meter.

Polycare has two goals: to enable affordable housing while using as few raw materials and as little energy as possible. The company's building elements, so-called Polyblocks, address both challenges. The startup uses construction debris, industrial waste, and secondary raw materials to enable (even non-professionals) to construct buildings sustainably. Ultimately, the buildings can even be dismantled and deconstructed sustainably, because little heavy equipment is required.

Concular enables circular real estate. The startup digitizes the materials used in a building, allowing them to be reused and kept in circulation before demolition. This allows to prevent unnecessary "grey energy" waste.

If you would like to meet with RecycleX representatives in person or in a video conference, we would be happy to arrange a meeting for you. Please contact us at

The picture shows Abhishek Chhazed and can be used for reporting on the current cohort of the Circular Economy Accelerator free of charge. Source: Jan Turek/Circular Valley®.