Monday, 17 May 2010

Recycled materials

Many natural materials lend themselves to reuse. This is particularly true of the harder wearing types, such as stone, ceramic tile, brick, hardwood and such like. At some point, original building materials salvaged from houses, churches, hospitals, hotels and other sources, become desirable antiques. Well before then, there is a tendency for construction or demolition waste to be treated simply as rubble and dumped in landfill. Types include:
  • Second-hand materials in a variety of formats reclaimed from demolished buildings or other sources - for example, old bricks, stone pavers, tiles, and floorboards. Price and availability will depend on the age and quality of the material and possibly its provenance.
  • Reclaimed architectural detailing, fittings and fixtures. Salvage yards are a good source of details such as doors, windows, fireplaces, panelling, mouldings and trim, baths, sinks, basins, ironmongery, door furniture and a host of other interior features. Again price and availability will depend on quality, style and condition.

  • Furniture and furnishings. There is a large and established trade in second-hand furniture and furnishes, ranging from valuable and highly sought-after antiques to retro pieces dating from more recent perods. Textiles are the most vulnerable to decay, but there are some outlets that sell unused remnants or offcuts and surplus from the commercial sector. Some local authorities will now collect furniture in decent condition, repair it and sell it on at low prices. A number of companies hire out carpet, take it back after it is worn and recycle it into more carpet
  • Materials with a high recycled content. Synthetic materials with a significant recycled content are considered environmentally friendly. Paper and glass are easily recycled. Recycled glass tiles, for example, are produced using a quarter of the energy needed to make cast glass tiles.

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