There are several symbols that transcend language barriers and are easily recognized and understood by people from different cultures. Examples include the male and female bathroom icons, the cross symbolizing health, and the universal Wi-Fi symbol. Among these universal icons is the recycling symbol, conceived in 1971 by Gary Anderson, an architect and designer who was a student at the University of Southern California. Depicting a continuous cycle, it is a triangle with three arrows arranged clockwise, each of which represents the industry, consumers and recycling.
Central to the concept of the circular economy is the reintegration of materials typically viewed as waste back into the production cycle. This concept is particularly important for the construction industry, which has historically depended on the destruction and extraction of resources in order to exist. In this case, nothing is more symbolic than the brick, which not only represents the construction of new things, but is also the perfect example of how to apply the concept of circularity. Creative minds have embraced the challenge of circularity, devising solutions that transform discarded materials into high-value resources and generating a wide range of products, using raw waste materials that range from seaweed and plastics to human hair. These innovations not only address pressing environmental issues but essentially redefine the way we build and inhabit our spaces. In this article, we highlight five initiatives that are turning waste into bricks.