Saturday, February 5, 2011

All this waste...

I am getting concerned about the waste we have created. Even with a desire and effort to minimize waste, we have created so much of it. I can't imagine what a regular house creates. These pictures are what our house construction process has produced to date. Lots of plastic.  Lots of scrap and tiny bits of OSB and LVLs and plywood.  Sawdust. More plastic. Little bits of Roxul that isn't much good for stuffing into any places I can think of. Lots of bent, twisted nails. Even more plastic. Gosh, this is insane. How can we claim to be low-impact?


  1. On one renovation project I worked on, we tucked the scraps of Roxul around the waste drain pipe. This deadened the sound of flushing water. We then boxed this chase and drywalled it.

  2. Short lengths of 2 x lumber can be used as blocking between the floor joists to stiffen the floor, or as blocking in walls to build a stress wall. This additional lumber in the wall will reduce the overall insulation value.
    The scrap 2 x lumber can also provide backing support for cabinets, mirrors, etc.

  3. At the MADE retreat, there were suggestions that you may be able to contribute to the street furniture competition, this year... that will make a small dent.

    Also, this TED talk was forwarded from Craig in our office today

    I think the problem is more about packaging and nominal sizes, however. Shipping our materials across the world has everything wrapped in multiple layers of plastic and made in standard increments that are either too short or long for the application, adding to the waste.

  4. One builder used 5/8 inch firecode drywall in all of his projects. The extra thickness added to the thermal mass. The firecode board increased the fire resistance of the house.
    He saved any off-cuts of drywall and put them in the cavities of the internal walls. This reduced his disposal costs and increased the thermal mass in the house. - Jim

  5. Good idea on using fire-rated drywall. We'll have the 5/8" drywall on the ceiling of the suite below our main floor. I'll look into doing the rest with it.

    I may put the scraps in the wall cavities, especially those that have no electrical or plumbing runs.

  6. And there will still be lots of scrap left over, even after using pieces for blocking. I think I might have to build a shed or a gazebo with it. and of course, donate a bunch to the Street Furniture Competition!