The need to reduce waste generation and resource extraction arising from the traditional linear economy system is gaining the attention of scholars, organisations and governments. A potential alternative is the circular economy concept, which can minimise waste, keep materials in circulation through reuse and recycling principles and consider the environmental, social and economic benefits of products. The circular economy evolved from some conflicting concepts and theories to a linear economy. The purpose of this study is therefore to identify those concepts and theories and to explore their potential contributions to the construction industry. To achieve the objective of the study, a semi-systematic review of extant literature was conducted. The results indicated that 14 concepts including cradle to cradle, regenerative design, biomimicry, performance economy, industrial ecology and reverse logistics are the pillars of the circular economy. The findings revealed that all the concepts share similar characteristics with the circular economy and are relevant to the construction industry, especially for environmental protection. Seven (50%) of the pillars are applicable for reuse and recycling, six (42.8%) for resource efficiency, three (21.4%) for design and two (14.3%) for service models. However, it is hoped that the results of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge on the circular economy concept and waste management. The development of a framework for the identification of suitable concepts for the construction industry is recommended for future studies.