Upcycling construction waste

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In many developing countries, construction and demolition waste are often sent to landfills. Broken concrete, rubble, leftover bricks and concrete blocks aren’t often repurposed, but they all have upcycling potential. For example, some construction companies use building rubble as a lightweight aggregate base for roads and pavements.Averda offers specialised services for the removal and handling of construction waste. As is often the case, small building projects and home renovations often result in leftover bricks, aggregates and raw materials. If you’re unable to dispose of construction waste properly, consider upcycling the materials in your home.Here are a few ideas for reusing and repurposing leftover building materials in the home:

Make a garden bench from concrete blocks

Leftover concrete blocks are the perfect material for making a small garden bench. You’ll just need some timber and some cushions. Dig two small holes, about 3cm deep, in the ground to act as a foundation for the concrete blocks on either side of the bench. Lay the blocks upright and cover the bottom of the blocks with soil to ensure that they are sturdy.Place a horizontal layer of blocks on top of the vertical ones - no need for cement. Take some timber and slot it through the holes in the concrete blocks, joining the two sets of blocks with the timber. This forms the base of your bench. If you build the bench against a wall, you can use the wall as a backrest. Add cushions or a mattress for comfort and enjoy your new garden seating that cost virtually nothing to build.

Build an outdoor table or countertop

If you have some spare bricks and timber lying around after a construction project, you can make a handy outdoor table or countertop. All you’ll need is some cement and a bit of building knowledge. Mix a batch of concrete using cement, sand and water.Use the concrete and bricks to build four solid table legs or supports for the countertop. Cut some timber to the right length and lay them across the top of the brick supports. You can fasten the timber to the bricks with some 90-degree brackets and a few brick screws. The table or countertop is the ideal surface for meal preparation when you’re hosting a braai.

Make some shelves

Every bookworm runs out of shelf space at home. If you find yourself with more books than shelves, simply make some from leftover building materials. Concrete blocks or bricks form a solid support while timber makes the perfect material for the shelves.Simply stack two sets of bricks or concrete blocks up against a wall. Every few layers, place a wooden plank from one set of bricks to the other. Build your shelves from the ground up and then add a brick on top of the top plank to keep it weighted down. These shelves are ideal for storing books, tools, papers or files - so build them in your home, garage or office to upcycle leftover construction materials.

Upcycle concrete blocks into pots

Concrete blocks are actually ideal for use as plant pots. Each concrete block usually has two large holes. Contractors often need half a concrete block only so you may have a few of these lying around after a project. Place the blocks on a verandah or in the garden so that the holes point vertically. Put some small crushed stones or building rubble in the bottom of the holes. Next, add a layer of soil. Plant herbs or garden flowers in the soil and top up the hole with mulch. Keep the plants watered and ensure that there is enough sunlight for them to grow. You can stack the blocks to create a beautiful garden feature that uses height to add dimension to the greenery.When you complete a home building project, this is one of the ways to upcycle and reuse the leftover construction materials. These are just some of the ideas, but the possibilities can be endless. If you need assistance in removing construction waste, contact Averda directly.___Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment. ___By pairing international expertise with local insights, we have secured our position as one of South Africa’s most respected providers of waste management and industrial cleaning services. We also operate in the recycling, pipe inspection, CCTV, infrastructure inspection, hydro-demolition, high-pressure water jetting and catalyst handling industries. ___Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for the best tips on recycling and the latest industry news. See our Instagram and YouTube channels for more insights into environmental affairs and our work with local communities.