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Ways to upcycle construction waste

Upcycling on the whole reduces pollution by conserving our global resources and reducing our carbon footprint and the waste that ends up in landfills.

Recycling materials, while still better for the environment than disposal, ends up in products of a lower quality because the original items need to be broken down so that their base materials can be remade into new consumer products. Upcycling in many ways can be better than recycling because it only requires your creativity, adds value to the waste materials by giving them a better purpose and takes less energy to process.

Many smaller building projects, such as home renovations, often result in leftover building materials such as bricks, rubble and cinder blocks that end up in landfills which further pollutes our planet. Further examples of construction materials that can be upcycled include fencing, concrete, paving stones, various metals, plumbing fixtures, timber, tiles, carpets and plastics.

Ways to upcycle bricks

Walkway or edging for flower beds
Possibly the most simple way to reuse bricks is to create a beautiful brick path in your garden as a walkway to your door or to place them around garden features to neaten things up. You can also use the bricks as edging for a gravel pathway.

Birdbath
Another simple way to upcycle bricks is by creating a short column and placing a ceramic/clay bowl on the top to create a birdbath.

Candleholder/planter
If you have bricks with core holes or recesses you can turn them into rustic candleholders or pots to hold small plants such as succulents.

Ways to upcycle cinder blocks

Cinder blocks are extremely versatile and you can build any number of things such as benches, couches, planters, bookshelves, tv units, tables and small kebab braais.

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Ways to upcycle fencing boards

Creative ideas to upcycle fencing boards including everything from unique shelves, planters, benches to quaint window shutters.

The creative ways to upcycle construction materials really are endless.
Metals and plumbing fixtures can be converted into pieces of art and
tiles can be turned into beautiful coasters. Instead of simply disposing of your construction waste let your imagination run wild and do your bit to create a more sustainable planet.

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Written by Taryn Hill

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