Bricks are valuable construction materials that we cannot do without. They come in various shapes, colors and sizes. The best part is that they can last for decades when appropriately used. Of course, there are other building materials, but just a few of them measure up to the versatility of bricks.
Now, you may be looking to remodel your kitchen or a part of your house. Unfortunately, mishaps could happen that would subsequently leave you with broken bricks. You may also have mistakenly purchased more than you need.
Either way, if you are looking to dispose of unwanted bricks, you may be wondering if recycling is an available option. Well, in this article, we will answer all the questions you have about recycling bricks. In addition, we will also provide fantastic alternatives for you to recycle them. So, please, enjoy the read.
Can You Recycle Bricks?
Bricks are weather resistant and will not change much if exposed to extreme weather conditions. To top off the icing, brick walls are aesthetically appealing and colorful. It also helps that they are highly fire-resistant.
With all these endearing attributes, it is little wonder that most of the homes in the US have brick constructions. However, the high demand for the consumption of bricks also emphasizes the growing need to dispose of the useless ones properly.
Now, you may be wondering if you can recycle useless bricks. Well, not only can you recycle them, but the process leaves the environment much better off. It has numerous economic advantages and particularly leaves no impact on the environment.
You cannot, however, take your useless bricks to a curbside recycling center. These recycling centers specialize more in average household items and office supplies. Bricks have a high density that can damage the average recycling machine if you place them in it.
Still, please do not fret, as it requires little to no effort on your part to recycle bricks. All you have to do is locate a demolition recycling center or any construction company to take the bricks off your hands.
Bricks are made from natural resources such as lime, sand, ash and concrete. These materials can lay around in the environment for decades without causing it any harm.
They will disintegrate and go back to what they were initially made from.
However, it is still better to recycle the bricks even though throwing them in the bin may not harm the environment. They will merely take up space in our landfills.
While recycling bricks, you have numerous options. You may choose to find a demolition recycling center. These centers take on construction materials and either construct new buildings or simply demolish them and build them up from scratch.
Alternatively, there are also recycling companies that specialize in recycling construction materials. They take on roofs, wood, bricks, cement and other materials that may go to waste if they are not recycled.
Are Bricks Biodegradable?
When determining if a material is biodegradable, you have to consider how long it takes for it to get decomposed. You also have to consider if the remains will get absorbed by the environment. Lastly, if microorganisms can break it down easily, then it is biodegradable.
Well, with bricks, you can say that they are both biodegradable and non-biodegradable. Bricks are tricky, as materials are either biodegradable or not; never in between. Here’s why bricks are in between.
Bricks are made from sand or clay, lime, concrete and sometimes ash. All these materials are renewable in nature. In addition, they are environmentally positive materials, as they do not require chemicals or a lengthy production process.
What makes bricks neither biodegradable nor non-biodegradable is that microorganisms cannot act on them. The average brick can also last as long as a hundred years or even more. Lastly, when bricks get broken down due to extreme weather conditions, they can get absorbed by the soil without causing any harm to it.
Now, you see why bricks are in between. Microorganisms cannot break them down, they take long years to decompose, and their remains cannot harm the soil. These features do not particularly fit into a biodegradable or non-biodegradable category.
However, despite this, you certainly should not add bricks to a compost pile, as you otherwise would a biodegradable material. On the other hand, you also do not need stringent measures to dispose of bricks, as you would a non-biodegradable material.
Are Bricks Sustainable?
Absolutely! Bricks are sustainable, and here is why. Because of the intrinsic properties of bricks, they are very durable and last a very long time. As a result, they can be reused and recycled without taking as much from the environment.
Although, because of the firing process, which sometimes involves the combustion of fossil fuel, in some sense, it can be said not to be completely sustainable. It all depends on the context.
To make the bricks as sustainable as possible, several things should be put in place. Firstly, because bricks are recyclable and reusable, it is better to reuse bricks instead of making them from scratch. There are several construction companies and individuals that provide reclaimed bricks.
Also, to reduce the carbon footprint on the environment, it would be wise to get bricks or the raw materials for making them from the closest possible source. This would help to reduce both the transportation cost and our carbon footprint.
Furthermore, instead of breaking down walls with minimal damage, you should seek to repair them. Bricks can easily be attached to the damaged ones and stitched together. Bricks can even be used to refill large areas of broken walls.
So, summarily, bricks are sustainable because they give so much to the environment and take very little in return. Furthermore, brick homes and buildings can last for hundreds, if not thousands of years. As such, building with bricks will require minor construction over time, thereby cutting back on our consumption of energy, renewable and non-renewable resources.
Can Bricks be Reused?
Yes! Bricks can be reused in several ways, and this section will show you exactly how you can.
Reusing bricks has many advantages that are just too good to ignore. It would be best if you indeed used them to your benefit.
Asides from the fact that reusing bricks make our environment cleaner by reducing the carbon footprint and saving cost, old bricks can give an aesthetic effect to new projects. There is a rustic and aged appearance that old bricks give that can rarely be imitated by other materials, which gives the refurbished project a classy feel.
It does not take too much to dismantle your old brick wall; all you need is a chisel and a hammer. However, it is advisable to wear a hard hat, safety goggles, steel toes shoes, and respiratory masks.
When dismantling a wall, you may start at the top and strike the mortar joints with the chisel and hammer. Starting at the top of the wall will prevent the wall from collapsing and reduces your risk of getting injured.
On the other hand, you may choose to employ a handyperson if you feel not up to the task. In fact, if you have no professional experience, it will be best to leave the project to an individual who does.
5 Creative Ways to Dispose of Bricks
Environmentally-conscious individuals prioritize recycling as a way to dispose of their unwanted materials. However, there are some items that we can reuse multiple times before we finally dispose of them at a recycling center.
The reason is that recycling completely takes apart the items you place in the machine. As such, you will end up with a newer version when the process is completed. Therefore, when you repurpose first, you can be assured that you have fully utilized said item, thereby maximizing the materials that went into producing it.
Repurposing bricks is a very viable option, and how do you do that? Well, this section is here to help you with repurposing your bricks. So, please, enjoy the read!
1. Build Firepits
Instead of digging deep to make a fire pit, you could arrange bricks around an area in your garden in a creative and aesthetically pleasing manner. You may also hire a professional to build it inside your home.
You will need some cement, bricks and paint for this hack. Find a suitable spot for the construction, mix up your cement and get to laying. You can then throw some paint on it to give it an appealing view when you are done.
2. Construct an amazing walkway
So you have extra space around your home, or perhaps you’re just tired of weeding, you could create a walkway made of bricks. This would give your house an added aesthetic appeal while also saving you the stress of weeding.
You may hire a professional to do the work for you. However, if you have some experience laying bricks, you can do it yourself. You may also need to acquire a special license; it is always best to inquire at your governing council before you begin a project like this.
3. Creating a garden bench
A bench made from bricks undoubtedly stands out, and guess what? They’re also comfortable. Pile bricks together to form the cross-section you want(don’t forget to use mortar), and put cushions and pillows on top, and you have one more reason to relax.
As always, you may try out this hack yourself. Alternatively, to save resources, energy and time, you may instead choose to hire a contractor to finish up the job for you.
4. Construct planters or Candleholders
Another creative way you can reuse bricks is by making planters and candle holders out of them. The holes in the bricks could be used to hold candles, giving a warm and ambient feel to any room. It can also be used in the garden as a plant holder by placing succulents inside.
5. Construct bird baths
if you love bird-watching, a fantastic way to attract birds is by building them a bath in your garden. Pile the blocks and use some wet cement to attach them to serve as a base.
Then, you can place a wide bowl filled with water for the birds to drink and or bathe in.
If you have recently found yourself with some unwanted or excess bricks, you may be looking into ways to dispose of them properly. Of course, recycling is always an excellent option. However, you can do other super-useful things with them before you finally dump them in the recycling bin.
This blog post adequately supplies information on how you can go about that and how to find a recycling center that takes on bricks. So please, read through and make environmentally conscious efforts to dispose of your useless bricks.