BuildingLandWaste Systems & Recycling

Sites Unseen

Making use of resources from a building site

The lifecycle of a building site can supply the observant designer with loads
of resources. Be it your own site or one nearby, there are plenty of available
materials otherwise destined for landfill.

Before work starts, designate specific areas to stockpile materials choosing
places where they won’t have to be moved until needed.

After surveyors peg the site, collect seedlings, rocks and logs before clearing
begins. Offer to do the initial clearing and stockpile resources. The bobcat
operator can be a great ally if you give instructions to keep the piles in
order on site or transport material to your place, saving a trip to the dump.

As the foundations are dug, store valuable topsoil in its specific pile for
later use. When the concreters arrive, organise places to use leftover concrete;
steps, sheds, stepping stones, etc. for borders or paths.

Plumbers visit sites regularly. Collect unused lengths of pipe for irrigation
and drainage. The carpenters can provide any amount of wood offcuts. Stockpile
them for fuure projects; compost heaps, trellis, benches, seats, stakes and

Gyprockers supply stacks of gypsum offcuts. Ideal for acid or clay soils,
the sheets are laid as mulch or crushed into powder. Electricians leave lengths
of wire and painters empty many 25 litre plastic buckets. There also is plenty
of cardboard packaging from the fixtures for mulching.

With all these hungry tradespeople you an collect large amounts of food matter
– bins full of compost for your first vegetable garden.

Ideally the only thing leaving the site would be glass and metal to the recyclers
and small amounts of plastic to the dump (or recyclers if of the right kind).
The rest can be effectively used by the designer with a keen eye.


One Comment

  1. So happy to have this wonderful information available. Was specifically looking for what to do with sheetrock (gypsum) and I have acid, clay soil! So now I can utilize this resource instead of hauling it to landfill. I love the beauty of recycling, honoring Nature and intelligent design.

    Thanks Mark!

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