CEIMA: A framework for identifying critical interfaces between the Circular Economy and stakeholders in the lifecycle of infrastructure assets

Tom B.J. Coenen, Willem Haanstra, A.J.J. Jan Braaksma*, João Santos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
159 Downloads (Pure)


As the infrastructure sector lays claim to large amounts of natural resources and is responsible for a considerable amount of waste, to reduce resource usage and waste, organisations in this sector are considering the implementation of circularity. Despite an abundance of circular methods, principles and strategies provided in literature, the implementation of these approaches into everyday practice is often considered challenging. One of the main problems with implementing circularity is that professionals are not always aware of the full spectrum of circular approaches. Likewise, many CE experts lack the intricate knowledge that is accumulated through managing assets throughout their lifecycle. Following a Design Science Research-based approach, the Circular Economy Interface Matrix Analysis framework (CEIMA) is developed in which a bottom-up asset stakeholder perspective is linked to the existing top-down conceptualizations of circularity using an intermediate categorization. This framework connects infrastructure stakeholders to concrete applications of the Circular Economy by means of identification of possible interfaces. Based on the “9R” waste hierarchy, actions are formulated that provide a practical guide to more circular infrastructure. In this paper, the CEIMA framework is applied to two case studies involving bridges and distribution transformers respectively. The case studies demonstrated that the framework helps to bridge the knowledge gap between the conceptualizations of circularity and their application in the infrastructure domain. The identified interfaces between stakeholders and circular actions reveal key opportunities for stakeholders within the infrastructure sector to start with the implementation of circular actions. Finally, the framework offers a starting point for a broad discussion on the implementation of circularity. Both the resulting insights and the discussions are valuable for focussing stakeholder efforts in the transition towards a circular economy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104552
JournalResources, conservation and recycling
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Bridges
  • Circular Economy
  • Design science
  • Distribution transformers
  • Stakeholder management
  • Sustainable infrastructure


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