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The Beginner's Guide to Using Recycled Building Materials

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 1

It takes less energy to make a product from recycled materials than from raw materials. That is partly because the recycled materials have already gone through some of the necessary processing, while the raw material is starting from scratch. So when you (or your builders) are sourcing materials for your renovation, try selecting products that have some recycled content. You’ll be doing a big part in helping to reduce energy consumption at a global level.

Look out for recycled steel content

Depending on how and where they are processed, new steel products can be made with recycled steel content of between 30 and 100%. Check for this when shopping around for steel roofing and guttering products, structural steel, and the steel reinforcement mesh used to fortify concrete slabs.

Ask for recycled aluminium

Aluminium is very easy to recycle. As a result, it takes about 95% less energy to make an aluminium window frame or doorframe from recycled materials than it does to make one from raw building materials. If you are interested in reducing the amount of energy used for your renovation or extension, then try using recycled aluminium.

When choosing insulation, consider recycled content

Recycled paper is the main ingredient of cellulose insulation and recycled glass goes into glass wool batts and blankets. Polyester insulation can contain up to 100% recycled polyester content. Even rock wool insulation can incorporate some recycled building waste. Once you’ve decided which kind of material you are going to use, shop around for the one that has the most recycled content.

Don’t let plasterboard go to landfill

Plasterboard in landfill can produce foul odours and dangerous gases. If you can, choose plasterboard manufacturers who are working to reduce waste by recycling plasterboard off cuts.

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Purchase recycled glass

Glass is another example of a material that is relatively easy to recycle. For that reason , it takes about 20% less energy to make glass with some recycled content than to make glass entirely from scratch. When you are buying glazing, glass tiles, shower surrounds or glass splashbacks, try to source out a product with high recycled content.

Invest in recycled timber

If you can’t reuse your own floorboards or strip ceiling boards as part of a renovation, there are plenty of specialist suppliers around who trade in salvaged floorboards, generally sold either by the new floorboards, but you will be using a material that is 100% recycled.


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Comments

Jun 29, 2012 2:23am
andrewlemon
Nice article. Unfortunately the UK is a bit behind downunder in recycling. But its slowly getting there.
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