Different types of recycled building material

Using recycled building materials has become a very respectable thing to do in recent times but for some it remains unexplored territory. Regardless of the recent propensity for academic research to promote recycling and upcycling, builders, contractors and aggregate suppliers are sceptical about the practice as it is a fairly new concept. Here are four recycled materials you didn’t know about that are actually quite reliable and inventive:

1. Composite lumber

Composite lumber is a mixture that comprises an equal amount of recycled wood fibres and recycled plastic. The combination of the two materials makes the resulting material significantly tougher than pure plastic and it is impervious to rotting – unlike wood. The most valuable attribute of composite lumber is that it can be used to build anything one would typically use traditional wood for.

2. Recycled building sand

This is when construction and demolition waste is milled and reused as traditional building sand. In a study published in the Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, mortars were produced with different amounts of cement and the natural material was replaced with recycled aggregate in proportions of 50, 75 and 100 per cent. The findings showed that mortars with high amounts of recycled material were characterised as displaying superior strength and abrasion resistance. Recycled building materials are also cost-effective.

3. Plastic insulation

Imagine Think Pink but in this case it’s even more sustainable. Plastic insulation in your home can keep it cool during the summertime and warm during the winter. This form of insulation is designed to form air pockets which ensures high insulation performance.

4. Wine cork panels

These are wall or floor tiles that are made by combining granulated and whole recycled wine corks. The material is also a good insulator and can be used in almost any building. Luckily, wine corks aren’t in short supply seeing as the world consumes 24.2 billion litres of wine per year.

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