Waste and carbon issues are created from many different sources and practices and represents inefficient use of materials and design. Once generated, wastes must be managed through reuse, recycling, storage, treatment, energy recovery, and/or disposal or other releases to the environment.
This list provides guidance and information on handling and recycling construction materials commonly making their way to landfill. REBRI guide links can be found at the bottom of this page.
- Sort by type for milling and recycling.
- Break up and reuse on site for temporary road construction or hardfill.
- Whole bricks set with lime-based mortar – reuse in fences, landscaping and construction.
- Whole bricks set with concrete – recycle.
- Broken bricks – crush for use as landscape over, sub-base material or hardfill.
Cardboard and paper
- Separate for recycling into new products.
Concrete and masonry
- Use crushed concrete aggregate anywhere natural aggregate is currently used, including:
- loose on driveways, for unsealed hard stand and in landscaping
- as a base course for footpaths, roading, driveways and other asphalted or sealed surfaces
- as a base course under building foundations in civil works such as stopbanks, earth bunds, soakage pits, drainage channels and beds for pipe works and cabling.
- Cast-in-place and precast concrete – recycle or reuse for stabilising slopes, river banks and foreshores.
- Concrete/masonry block not filled with concrete – reuse.
- Concrete/masonry block filled with concrete – recycle.
- Paving stones – reuse/recycle.
- Tiles/slates – reuse/recycle.
- Pipes, masonry service structures – reuse/recycle.
- Glass, bottles and jars – recycle.
- Double glazing units in good condition – reuse.
- Double glazing (failed) – recycle.
- Paints, solvents and other hazardous fluids.
- Materials with lead-based finishes.
In the interests of health and safety, you should check the removal and disposal requirements of hazardous materials with your city or district council. Some manufacturers have take-back schemes for paint (such as the PaintWise scheme from Resene).
- Aluminium (soffit, cladding, cappings, flashing) – reuse or recycle.
- Cast iron – recycle.
- Chain link fencing – reuse or recycle.
- Copper (flashing, wiring, plumbing) – reuse or recycle.
- Drink and food cans – recycle.
- Interior steel wall studs – recycle.
- Lead (piping, plumbing, flashing) – recycle.
- Reinforcing steel (rebar) – recycle (usually embedded in concrete so not reusable).
- Steel and zinc (roofing, cladding flashing) – reuse/recycle.
- Structural steel – reuse (including I-beams, square tubing, pipe and channel steel), otherwise recycle.
- Miscellaneous steel – reuse/recycle.
- Miscellaneous other metals – reuse/recycle.
- Packaging, pipe off-cuts, expanded polystyrene block off-cuts, buckets – separate by type (all are labelled) for recycling into new plastics.
- Some manufacturers of polystyrene products such as insulation offer recycling services for their customers.
Once the recycled plasterboard is crushed, the gypsum can be sold as a powder (with or without the paper) or moulded into pellets. Gypsum can be:
- used as soil and compost conditioner and for other agricultural applications
- composted with other green waste
- combined with sawdust and wood shavings for animal bedding, because it absorbs moisture
- reused in the plasterboard manufacturing process (depending on the manufacturer’s specifications for gypsum quality)
- used in the cement-making process (virgin gypsum is currently added to the clinker to control the setting time
- used for drying sludge from municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants because of its moisture-absorbing characteristics
- used to settle dirt and clay materials in turbid water
- used to absorb grease spills.
- Retain and replaced after construction so that existing nutrients can be returned back to the site.
- Includes treated and untreated timber, hardwood, native timber, demolition, off-cuts, framing, cladding, interior fittings and linings, engineered timber products (MDF, fibre board, particle board etc.), joinery, panels, lengths, pallets and packaging.
- Untreated timber – reuse, separate all types of untreated timber without finishing (paint, varnish etc.) that is not good enough for salvage (under 600 mm or damaged) burn for fuel, mulch or recycle lengths greater than 0.6 metres.
- Treated timber – reuse, lengths greater than 0.6 metres (or 450 mm where this is the spacing of structural framing).
- Engineered timber products, trellis and other timber products – reuse or recycle panels of greater than 0.5 square metres.
- Treated or untreated heavy timbers/posts – reuse.
- Trees – remove and replant specimen trees.
- Vegetation – mulch or chip for use a ground cover, mulch, compost.
- REBRI easy guide to resource recovery – concrete [PDF, 617KB]
- REBRI easy guide to resource recovery – metal [PDF, 305KB]
- REBRI easy guide to resource recovery – plasterboard [PDF, 293KB]
- REBRI easy guide to resource recovery – timber [PDF, 455KB]
- REBRI easy guide to waste reduction – construction [PDF, 313KB]
- REBRI resource recovery – all waste types – centralised sorting and storage [PDF, 747KB]
- REBRI resource recovery – all waste types – collection and transportation [PDF, 513KB]
- REBRI resource recovery – concrete – collection and transportation [PDF, 761KB]
- REBRI resource recovery – concrete – processing and storage [PDF, 1,460KB]
- REBRI resource recovery – metal – collection and transportation [PDF, 1,025KB]
- REBRI resource recovery – plasterboard – centralised sorting, storage and processing [PDF, 492KB]
- REBRI resource recovery – plasterboard – collection and transportation [PDF, 1,052KB]
- REBRI resource recovery – plasterboard – on-site sorting, storage and processing [PDF, 716KB]
- REBRI resource recovery – timber – collection and transportation [PDF, 501KB]
- REBRI resource recovery – timber – processing into mulch and chip [PDF, 676KB]