Friday, February 4, 2011

Feasible outlines for recycling building waste?

This is an interesting article and video showing a hypothetical way of recycling construction waste and repurposing it to build a park. Concrete rubble is crushed to constitute pavers, glass is ground down to make a pebbly ground cover, wood is made into benches, and steel is used for rebar and ground cover. I don't know if a 100% recovery would be possible--concrete doesn't become soft again, there's only so much need for glass pebbles, and usually materials come mixed together in such a way that it's tough to separate wood from glass, etc. In the case of my house rehab, we've been able to recycle lots of the traditional building materials--mud blocks, sand wall plaster, clay roof tiles, cane from the roofs and ceilings--and the rotten wood we've used mostly for firewood. But the concrete and brick debris, as well as much of the earth we're excavating, has gone to the landfill. Perhaps if we had more operating space to store stuff, it would be possible to recycle or repurpose even some of the concrete and soil debris, but time and space constraints have obligated us to use the landfill a fair amount recently.

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