DigiYard - Repurposing reusable construction waste | Knowledge Hub | Circle Economy Foundation
Business case
DigiYard - Repurposing reusable construction waste

DigiYard is an app-based service connecting unused construction site materials and waste with small-scale builders and traders in the informal sector.


The construction industry has for a long time worked on the basis that waste is an inevitable by-product of doing business. Some 30% of all materials delivered to construction sites is wasted, usually ending up in landfill. In South Africa, millions of people live in poor quality housing in townships on the peripheries of cities. These townships are a legacy of Apartheid, and their low-quality construction and distance from services and economic opportunity, effectively reinforce inequalities. It will become increasingly critical not only to recycle more construction waste, but also to repurpose perfectly good


Arup is developing DigiYard as a digital platform that facilitates the flow of usable construction waste and surplus building material from construction sites to informal settlement upgrading projects. The platform aims to reduce construction waste in landfill whilst addressing the need for affordable, high quality building materials in the informal housing sector. Through the platform, construction companies donate materials and users pay a fee to use the app. They typically pay half the price of materials they would have paid at the second-hand market. This means that low-income customers are able to purchase expensive materials at a lower cost, improving the quality and safety of their construction. Construction companies should ultimately be able to have a detailed understanding of their material waste streams in order to minimise waste and increase efficiencies. Smaller construction companies in particular benefit from saving transport costs and landfill fees.

Additional information

This case study has been created as part of Footprints Africa's work to build the first ever comprehensive mapping of circular economy initiatives in Africa. This will lay the foundation open-source database that can inspire local initiatives, as well as inform the global dialogue, which is largely focused on the European and American contexts. We are doing this in collaboration with the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN). ACEN's vision is to build a restorative African economy that generates well-being and prosperity inclusive of all its people through new forms of economic production and consumption which maintain and regenerate its environmental resources.

The objective is to build an open-source database featuring 500 cases by the end of 2021, with strong regional representation. These will feature in the Knowledge Hub and are also being mapped by GRID-Arendal. 

Relevant links
Footprints Africa
Footprints Africa
African Circular Economy Network
African Circular Economy Network
DigiYard (Arup)
DigiYard (Arup)
Key elements of the circular economy

digital platform


Circular Economy

Footprints Africa

construction and infrastructure

south africa