Guide on Selecting the Best Recycled Materials for Specific Building Needs

There are many benefits to recycling building materials, and a sustainable approach to construction has been increasingly popular. Nowadays, stats show that over 75% of demolition waste in Australia is reused in one form or another, which is well above the country’s 60% overall recycling rate. Let us dig deeper and discover why we do it, how we do it, and how you can select what recycled materials to use.

Importance of Using Sustainable Materials

As with any recycling you may do, using sustainable building materials is environmentally conscious. The reduced carbon footprint and overall impact on nature is probably the prime reason to harvest and recycle materials.

However, there are more benefits you reap from creating less waste and consuming less energy. Firstly, there’s money, as recycling will mean lower costs for your demolition project as well as the construction you are planning. It is also a great way to improve efficiency and retain performance regardless of the volumes of materials to be reused.

Potential Drawbacks

It’s not all roses, and there are downsides to using recycled building materials. Some of the material-specific objections and more general remarks include:
  • Some materials may be less durable
  • Some materials require extensive processing and consequently have higher costs
  • Some options have potentially limited availability
  • The installation process with some materials may mean being forced to change your approach

Recycled Materials and Building Needs They Suit


Reclaimed wood is possibly the most diverse material on the list, with many purposes you can go for. While it often means processing, wood can be used in its original condition to give decorative elements, such as beams, a rustic look. Reclaimed wood can also be used for planking, decking, flooring, as well as kitchen details.  

When selecting reclaimed wood, make sure you choose dry wood with few structural dents. Splits and cracks are to be expected but ensure you can fill them with epoxy without ruining your finished product.


Metal is less commonly recycled with home demolitions, but some featured options include steel, aluminium, and copper. Recycled metals usually have the same original purpose, with some of the best uses including roofing and ductwork, plumbing, and beams. It is often also used for building cladding and house decoration.

It’s important to consider how recyclable some metals are, as steel and aluminium are some of the few options that can be recycled over and over while retaining the same quality. Also, some metals require intense processing, and reusing them may not be viable.


The impact plastic has on our environment has been a matter of intense debate over the past couple of decades. Reducing widespread use and recycling the plastic we do use is crucial, and there are many uses recycled plastic has in the construction industry. These begin with floor and roofing tiles and cover fences, smart gravel, and even bricks and concrete. Recycling plastic is cost-efficient and a relatively quick process too, which adds to its appeal. When selecting the suitable plastic, you need to consider its physical properties but also bear in mind its chemical properties and the process you’ll use it with.


A more recent invention, Ferrock has played a role in the popularity of recycling in construction over the past two decades. It’s a replacement for cement made from steel dust and silica, which makes it cost-effective for small to medium-scale projects. While more obvious uses for Ferrock include bricks and walls, it’s often also used in paving with a distinct appearance.

Ferrock is five times stronger than cement and offers flexibility, which may prove vital with earthquakes. It’s lightweight, very durable, and easy to use, but it’s important to note it is not as viable for large projects. It suits the Aussie climate well and works great for both commercial and residential purposes.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to see how recycling and using sustainable materials to fit your building needs can make all the difference in the long run. However, the affordability and ease of repurposing materials can be just as important right here, right now.

This makes it important to select what best suits your needs to create few obstacles you need to overcome along the way. Create specific criteria for your project and set in stone what’s important to you as you recycle and reuse materials, with the critical considerations we have listed above in mind.