As a contractor, I place a high value on upcycling building materials and encourage everyone else who hasn’t thought about it, to start doing the same. This strategy is one of the best ways that we can reduce the impact that our business has on the environment. While recycling is very good and I place it high on my list of priorities, it came to my attention just how valuable upcycling really is.
Decreased Production and Fewer Disposals
All of us who are involved in the construction industry from architects, engineers, developers, and builders to property owners and site managers can make a difference. Upcycling starts when the inception for a building is first being discussed. It involves making the decision to include a green approach to design as well as in the material choices and construction. Using each resource in the most efficient ways possible reduces waste that ends up in our landfills and the need for increases in production. We can cut back on the use of resources by using better planning that takes this important topic under consideration.
Benefits for Upcycling
Since billions of dollars go into the planning and construction of buildings that are designed to last for ten to thirty years, the first obvious sign of waste is right in front of our noses. With the use of a little foresight, the money could better be spent on structures that will hold up for much longer periods of time. Instead of hiring a demolition crew to come in a decade later, a stronger and more reliable structure could be erected that could be repurposed or at least remodeled with less refuse generation. This would decrease the cost of building and refuse management drastically but it needs to start with the professionals who are in charge of ordering construction and authorizing the design specifications.
Leaving the Disposable Mentality Behind
Our society has moved towards a disposable mentality for the sake of convenience for the past few decades and it has reached epidemic proportions. We seem to thrive on convenience with the use of eco deadly materials for our fast food, our homes, electronics and the wonderful manufacturing plants that process our disposable goods. It has entered the construction industry in the form of disposable buildings. It is a mentality and therein lies to the difficulty for effecting any large-scale change. While in the majority of cases, money is not the issue as much as convenience and moving on from one project to another. Planners who take this route are not thinking about environmental impacts, but now is the time that they should. As the professionals who are shaping the landscape of this planet, it’s time that we all unite in a common cause to cut down on the amount of waste that we’re generating and start working together to reduce the waste we produce while conserving on every possible resource.
Two Worthy Goals for Upcycling
If nothing more can be attributed to the value of upcycling, we can certainly see the benefits we’ll gain by reducing our carbon emissions footprint and reducing the waste that is clogging our waste management systems. Every contractor that contributes to the cause is making a difference. When associates ask why you employ green strategies, you’ll have the opportunities to open their eyes a little wider to the reasons why they should consider taking the same approach. Partners in conservation are formed over a lifetime of negotiations and information sharing and with a little effort; we can make progress towards these goals.