Is demolition the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning? We already know that construction can be pretty energy consuming and wasteful, is there any reason to think demolition is any better?

image: CC Richard Croft from
image: CC Richard Croft from

Anything in that picture that you think might be worth saving? Read on to find out how a well planned demolition can prevent things going to waste, and provide a source of materials for something new.

Although it seems to be mainly geared towards professionals, large-scale and non-residential demolitions, I have been reading a lot from the Aggregain website, brought to you by WRAP; that’s right, the ones who do lots of recycling campaigns and things like Love food, hate waste, as well as more broadly trying to transition to a circular economy.

First of all, aggregate is a bit of a blanket term; it effectively just means a pile of similar types of stuff! “associated” or “in a flock” (from aggregatus – gregare – a herd) So, this could include sand, gravel, concrete and slag (no sniggering at the back).

But why do I want aggregates? Surely as a potential house builder, I’d be more interested in bricks, timbers or things like that? Well, I’d imagine as the simplest type of demolition-reclaiming procedure is just to flatten things and crush them up into tiny bits, that’s why it’s of key interest to the aggregates industries. Aggregain gives some good advice on how much can be reclaimed before this final option, if you will, but even aggregates have some value – especially if there is a project nearby looking to buy some in. That foundation and rubble has gotta come from somewhere right?

This groovy interactive diagram gives an easy overview of which parts of a structure could be reclaimed and links to further advice on each; roof trusses and timbers? try the Wood Recyclers Association. Glass from windows and doors? try this info sheet on flat glass recycling.

A great resource for skip divers and scavengers!

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One thought on “Demolition

  1. Thanks for the link to the WRAP diagram summarising opportunities for recycling building materials.
    You may also be interested in my blog post: ‘One building’s loss is another building’s gain’.

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