Construction Recycling Explained.

Jul 13, 2016
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skyscraperHistorically, mankind has salvaged and recycled building materials. An established tradition, the earliest examples of which are documented in the downfall of the Roman Empire, with groups of people plundering buildings as a source of new building materials – in search of skilfully worked stone masonry and fired clay products to incorporate into their own buildings. Crude as it might have been, it’s still recycling, and recycling is still of importance. Construction in North Wales and beyond will be aware of the growing endeavour to reduce, reuse, and find purpose for by-products generally considered waste.

We’re still reusing and recycling—sourcing demolition waste to break down and use as foundations and sub-bases for new construction works, be them roads, pavements, or something new entirely. In 2016 there’s movement for recycling old concrete as crushed aggregate for new, though concerns of which have to be addressed before the practise is accepted as legitimate, and safe.

However, more valued building elements such as ashlar blocks, bricks, roofing slate, tiles, lintels, flooring tiles and decorative items may have history or may be unique, and have been carefully salvaged, taken from environments, restored and reused- even before recent recognition of the need to reuse and recycle. The trade itself has evolved within the last 10 years, from special request to standard – with an array of recycling centres where items can be sold, sorted, and purchased.

Alongside recovery and reuse of construction materials, there has been an increasing need for products which have been considered waste. For example, large quantities of industrial waste and by products, like blast-furnace slag have proven extensive and largely beneficial use in construction sites. Interestingly, there could also be a new lease of life coming from the processing of recycled iron and steel materials.

In a global shift away from coal and other carbon-burning fuels and materials, there are a variety of recyclable construction materials in plentiful supply, and real effort is going into ascertaining what can be used where.  

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