In 2018, the United States produced around 300 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW), or around five pounds of waste for every person in the country every day. One notable issue on waste management during the pandemic was the worsening of ocean plastic pollution due to the increase in the use of gloves, masks, and other personal protective equipment, along with a decline in recycling programs.
The situation highlights the importance of using eco-friendly materials in reducing waste that may end up in different waterways across the country. It also facilitates the reusing and recycling different materials, including materials you can use to spruce up your homes. Here are some eco-friendly materials that you can use to refurbish your home.
Recycled Cork Panels
If you want to spruce up the ceiling or enhance your walls, you can use recycled wine corks. After popping the wine bottle, they end up in a landfill. But you can use them to make your home look better. Several companies can recycle wine corks and turn them into something you want to display at home.
These companies receive the corks from companies that collect them through drop-off locations. After recycling the materials, they create different home items, such as cork flooring and insulation cork boards. Aside from helping reduce waste in the landfill, you also get to spruce up your home when you use recycled cork panels.
Recycled glass is another material you can use to spruce your home, particularly the bathroom and the kitchen. The United States disposes of around 10 million tons of glass every year. Companies can make glass tiles free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making them safe for use anywhere in the house. You can use the glass tiles as a countertop in the kitchen. It’s a good environment-friendly alternative to using marble and granite, which require a lot of resources to manufacture
In 2018, the recycling rate of ferrous materials was around 30 percent, including around 71 percent recycling rate for steel cans. Its recyclability and durability make steel an innovative material that is a good addition to our home. Used in a variety of industries, the material is also versatile. Working with recycled steel requires gas tungsten or shielded metal arc welder. But the result may not be as clean as you want it to be. To ensure it looks nice and clean, you need an electrochemical weld cleaner machine to remove any discoloration, rust, or heat tint caused by the welding process on the metal.
Aside from using the material to make prefabricated homes, you can also use recycled steel as a structural component for your home. For smaller items, you can use the material to make chairs and tables that look great anywhere in the house.
Plastic made up around 36 million tons or 12 percent of MSW in 2018 in the United States. But the same year saw the recycling of only around three million tons of plastic. This is around nine percent of the total plastic waste in 2018. In the same year, the amount of plastic combusted was only around 5.6 million tons of the MSW. On the other hand, landfills saw around 27 million tons of plastics sent to them across the country.
The numbers are quite substantial, which makes it essential to recycle the material. Some companies are helping in this recycling drive by creating new building materials using recycled plastics. The building materials or plastic lumber come from plastic bags and plastic wraps. The plastic lumber is used to make backyard decks, fences, and park benches. Aside from building materials, you can also use picnic tables, lawn furniture, recycling bins, and playground equipment made from recycled plastic.
Bottle caps are also recyclable and can be used to make storage containers, yarn, garden rakes, and reusable shopping bags. Around 95 percent of foam packaging consists of air, but recycling companies can convert them into insulation, home building products, and picture frames.
Even as metal, vinyl, and fiber cement are among the more popular options for home sidings, you can also use the bark of trees to protect the house’s exterior. Some companies work with logging companies to repurpose tree bark. Repurposing the tree bark ensures that companies use all parts of a tree. The bark siding does not only protect the exterior of the house but also enhances its curb appeal. The texture it provides is unique and eye-catching. These companies only use tree barks from trees that are used in the plywood and furniture industries.
The use of eco-friendly materials is essential to protect the environment and promote sustainability.