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Incorporating Recycled Materials into Your Home Improvement Project

example of recycled materials photo

One of the hottest trends in home design is to incorporate recycled and salvaged materials in home projects. Recycled or salvaged materials add timeless character to homes across the country. Sourcing salvaged wood and metal from local demolitions reduces landfill waste and the environmental costs associated with lumber production and transportation. Recycled materials look great; more importantly, by recycling some kinds of building materials, homeowners can even save money.

Recycled materials also show up in products that are newly-manufactured. Wood can be recycled and incorporated in building products like sheathing or planking, while many plastics are given new life as decking, siding, and decorative elements. Here is a look at ways homeowners can save costs and help the environment by choosing recycled materials in their home improvement projects.

Recycled Decks

When sourcing materials for an outdoor deck or patio, recycled materials may actually be superior to newly-manufactured materials. Over recent years, composite decking has taken center stage. This decking product incorporates both salvaged wood and recycled plastics in its manufacture. The engineering results in a stable material that is far more resistant to rot and warping than traditional wood decking. Initial costs may be higher than using wood, but the lifespan and low-maintenance aspects of composite decking more than outweigh the cost differences.

Recycled Landscaping

Believe it or not, landscaping materials are a great way to reduce environmental impacts. Mulch made from shredded car and truck tires is a popular choice. This mulch is vastly superior to wood mulch products, as it is both insect- and moisture-resistant. Decorative rocks, as used in edging or other applications, can also be sourced from salvage yards or even collected from vacant lots free of charge.

Construction rubble and rocks may also be incorporated into newly-made building blocks, such as those found in garden retaining walls and decorative accents. By reusing old concrete rubble, this reduces the environmental harms associated with landfill construction and maintenance.

Recycled Kitchen Counters

In the kitchen, a hot trend is to use recycled glass in countertop construction. Glass is collected and chipped, then mixed into a stone substrate. The resulting product is incredibly durable and very attractive; the varied colors of the recycled glass catch the light and add drama to any kitchen design.

Recycled Insulation

Recycled materials don’t always have to be visible in home improvement projects. A wonderful way to incorporate recycled materials is in insulation. Commonly, blow-in cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper and cardboard. Insulation batts and blankets are made from recycled glass fiber as well as old denim fabric. Who knew that blue jeans could have a second life in our homes?


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