Category: Eco-Friendly Future Written by Ron Wolf
Before you get rid of building materials or look for recycled ones for home renovation, you have to know which components are appropriate to reuse. Usually, all the waste would go to landfill sites, but that is not the best option if you want to preserve the environment. By recycling and repurposing construction waste, you can decrease the use of resources to make new materials, like water, forests, and energy.
The good news is that you can recycle a wide range of eco-friendly home building materials, while some of them you can repurpose. So, let’s go over these materials from the foundation to the roof.
There are a lot of things you can do with scrap wood, like feed the fire in your fireplace or use it as a building material. For example, if you demolished an old porch, you can use those planks to make seating furniture for your backyard. In case you are replacing an old wooden fence, you can remove the nails and send them to the recycle center.
It's important to be responsible for wood since the building industry uses huge amounts of it and mostly by cutting down trees. This practice can be reduced by recycling and repurposing wood to create floors, doors, windows, particleboards, and paneling. As one of the most desired natural materials in home design, wood will always be sought after, so completely switching to eco-friendly solutions can save the forests.
It’s fun to come up with ways to repurpose bricks. You can use them to build a fire pit or wall of your raised flowerbeds in the garden. You can use them to make patio areas or pathways, as well as for decorative walls in the outdoor kitchen.
Bricks are the excellent building material for inside decoration, like framing a fireplace or creating an accent wall. If you don't need bricks, consider selling them so they can be reused by someone else, or sending them to a recycling center.
Renovating a roof is not something done often so you want to make it count. Ask your roofer to send old shingles to the recycling facility, after which they can be used to patch asphalt, make new roof shingles, and other purposes.
If you have a garden, you can repurpose those shingles and make pathways or rustic fences around the flowerbeds. Moreover, use them to prevent weeds from growing by positioning them between plants and then covering them with soil to not ruin the landscaping.
One of the most common metals in homes is copper, used for piping and wiring. When recycled, copper retains its durability and strength, making it popular and lucrative on the recycling market. This is also the reason copper roofing and cladding have been gaining in popularity over the years.
Copper is ideal building material since it corrodes extremely slowly, doesn't crack, and is eco-friendly considering it's highly recyclable. The production of re-refined copper saves a lot of energy compared to the process needed to mine the ore and manufacture its products from scratch. Instead of throwing away copper building materials, sell them, and allow them to be repurposed.
Drywall is used for the building of interior walls, making it the most common material. Since it’s made from two sheets of paper with gypsum between them, it’s simple to recycle and reuse. For example, builders use it as support for wet concrete or to fill in holes in the walls.
But the construction industry is not the only one to reuse drywall. Since it contains boron, it’s often used in agriculture as a plant nutrient. The paper from drywall can be scraped separately and used to make wallboards, paperboard, and compost.
When you look at the concrete rubble, probably the only thing that comes to mind is to send it to the landfills. However, concrete is commonly recycled and reused by being crushed and sifted. This is done in the crushing facility or builders can do it on the site.
In the case of the latter, builders can use crushed concrete to make paved access to your garage or walkways and stairs to your front door. Landscapers may also be interested to repurpose a few pieces of concrete debris when decorating your yard. Some can even turn it into an art piece or a flagstone paving for the outdoor seating area.
Recycling glass from windows is not so common because it can be costly and unnecessary. Glass makers can rarely reuse recycled glass, while removing additional parts of windows in the recycling facilities, like vinyl and aluminum, can take a lot of time. Instead, see if you can repurpose the windows for a toolshed or summer kitchen.
With new paint and minor repairs, the windows can bring you a good price at a yard sale or on an online store. If you are determined to recycle them, try to remove the frames from the glass. That way, they can be recycled separately, especially since frames are made from aluminum, PVC, or wood.
Eco-friendly home building materials are perfect to be creative or contribute to the community. You can repurpose them in your renovation projects, donate them, or send them to be recycled. The most important thing is that you will not turn them to waste but help them be reused for a better purpose.
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