Recycled Materials Used in Building – Part 2

Recycled Materials Used in Building – Part 2


Following on from my previous blog post regarding recycled materials used in building, I welcome you to part 2. In this part I will continue to discuss the various recycled products and composite materials utilized in today’s building industry. To view part 1, click here.

Fly Ash Blocks

The use of fly ash blocks as an equivalent to concrete blocks is a well-established practice. These blocks are most prevalent in emerging countries where coal-fired power stations remain mainstream. For example; India actively promotes the use of fly ash blocks as there is a great quantity of fly ash available. The grade of the ash can vary depending on the quality of coal utilized and the method used to burn it. The advantages of using fly ash blocks is that the by-product of a power station can be recycled and used in construction rather than being disposed of. Another advantage of these blocks is that they can hold heat a lot better than the concrete equivalent. In colder climates, this could be extremely advantageous as it would help to lower household energy bills.

Recycled Paper Blocks

The use of recycled paper blocks in construction projects is still in its infancy and the concept is still being tested. Researchers in India have produced blocks which consist of 90% recycled paper and 10% cement. This mix is placed in molds before the moisture is removed. The resulting blocks are absorbent and thus cannot currently be utilized to build outdoor walls, however; they can be used in internal partition walls. Waterproofing is yet to be developed. Along with their obvious structural role; these blocks also have insulating properties which improve both the thermal and acoustic performances of the building. Additional advantages of using these blocks in the future include a reduction in the amount of paper waste that is sent to landfill and recycled paper is much less expensive than conventional block material.

Recycled Plastic

Recycled plastic is a suitable replacement for various building components. It can be used to replace timber planks, sheets, façade panels, beams, fence posts and bollards to name a few. Although this practice has been used for around 30 years, the use of recycled products is becoming more common and it is likely that its popularity will continue to increase.  There are numerous advantages of using recycled plastic in construction. Plastic can be easily shaped and colored, and it has acoustic, thermal and electrical insulating properties – helping to save energy and money. Recycled plastic products are also light weight, strong, non-biodegradable, cheap to produce and can be recycled over and over again.

I hope that this second part of this discussion will have helped to improve your understanding and vision of what is possible when deciding on products to use in future builds. The use of recycled products is becoming increasingly more popular. Using these products will vastly reduce the costs involved in building new projects but more importantly, help to protect the environment. After all, our children are depending on us to leave behind an inhabitable world, aren’t they?

Design Administration

Gould Design, Inc.