Upcycling waste into Construction Materials








The world generates a lot of wastes daily. Every person contributes to the waste generation in the society by using plastic, wasting food, electronic waste and various other sort of wastes. As it is very evident, with the growing population there is an increase in the waste generated by people. The modern lifestyle is trapped into all the things that are produced and cannot be destroyed, it’s time to either take a step back or take a step forward and up cycle the waste produced in order not to fill in the land with it.

Plastics being one of the major problems now, this plastic is produced in large amounts and is also used and disposed of on a very regular basis. We are accustomed to such a scenario. Considering the alternatives that are coming up in the world for the plastics but the implementation of it is going to take a couple of years. Until then, this waste needs to be managed. And the next best way after not producing it is up cycling it.

But, now there is an increase in awareness of sustainable living for the users and for the environment that was being constantly neglected by the whole industry for over years. The future architects industry is pretty much into sustainability and how to keep the world living without completely destroying it, which is inevitable but a try worthy.


Now looking at plastic waste that is non biodegradable and also most of building materials are non biodegradable and construction industry being one of the industries that contributes to waste and pollution, it is possible to club both of the industries and try reducing the existing waste.

There are a few people in the industry who tried fixing these problems by coming up with innovative ideas to incorporate the waste materials into the construction industry.

Ar. Vinu Daniel came up with this idea of using waste into construction and he made this whole process of making a debris wall possible. So instead of concrete, he uses debris to fill the walls which solves the disposal problems and the life of the building stays the same.


Similarly, Professor Veena Sahajwalla working on tyres and fashion waste and produced building materials out of it.

India is the second largest producer of tyres. In 2011, India produced 90000 metric tonnes of reclaimed rubber from waste tyres. There are various Tyres being dumped, those can be used into various interiors furniture making.

Every year over one billion tyres are manufactured worldwide, and an equal number are permanently removed from vehicles which become waste. Green steel can be produced using these tyres.

Professor Veena Sahajwalla has developed a Polymer Injection Technology (PIT) also known as ‘green steel’. The environmentally friendly technology uses waste rubber tyres to reduce consumption of coal and coke in steel making.

This technology is commercially used by Australian steel makers and manages to reduce coke and coking coal consumption by upto 15%.

Professor Sahajwalla says that it is ideal for application in India as it is incorporated into conventional EAF steel making, so it does not require expensive new industrial infrastructure or any large scale new equipment.

In today’s fast flowing industry of fashion, there is a mass production and disposal of fabric waste upto 1 million tonnes per year. A lot of which is recyclable, but only 25 percent is actually recycled. Fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of all greenhouse emission.

Professor Veena Sahajwalla converted these fabric waste into tiles and brought it into contruction.

There are various examples of how the waste is up-cycled and used in various industries and how people are trying to resolve the waste production even more vast than the construction sector. Thus this is a step ahead to the making of the future sustainable.



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