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7 Building Materials: Alternative to Cement, Asphalt, Concrete & Wood

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Building Materials


We’re used to adhesives, cement, asphalt, concrete and wood as the go-to building materials when we build structures. From houses to roads, we resort to these materials to construct them. Yet we now live in a society where we are surrounded with so many wastes.

So just like an engineer who fulfills one’s duty of protecting the environment, we find ways to use these waste materials to add in the construction building materials. There’s creativity and innovation and in this list, you might find some interesting choices for you to use in the future:

Bottle Bricks 

While bottles are normally thought to be recycled for future containers stored in the kitchen, it can be used as bricks. Companies would often use bottles with a cube-like shape to build structures, where the bottleneck slots into the base of the next bottle.

Wine Cork Panels

Photo by 3Rings building materials


The wine corks we normally throw away after opening a bottle of wine can be recycled for floor tiles. It’s very resourceful, huh?

Nappy Roofing

While sanitary napkins are thrown away immediately after use, the polymers from these building materials can be recycled and used to create a fibre-based construction building materials.

Newspaper Wood

If you’re wondering how newspaper wood is made, all you have to do is collect tonnes of paper and cardboard, roll them up together with a solvent-free glue, which will allow you to produce something similar to a piece of wood. In order to use it in building materials, you can chop it off into smaller pieces. Sealing the newspaper wood would make it waterproof and flame-retardant.

Read more  #LeadersTalk with BBMC's Chief Operation Officer, Mohamed Ali Maricar

Recy Blocks

The recy blocks come from old plastic bags we use and throw away immediately. The recycled ones are placed inside a heat mold to stick to one another to form the blocks. Since it’s not heavy enough to put up houses, it can be used for dividers and for outdoor areas.

Blood Brick 

Photo via Inhabitat building materials


This may come unconventional to most people but blood brick comes from the animal blood produced from industrialized food production. The blood may be used as a strong bio-adhesive. To form the paste, which will then be used to cast as bricks, freeze-dried blood is mixed with sand. This is a proposal from a British architecture student Jack Munro.


If you have unsorted plastic wastes, chances are you can collect grains of plastic that can be used to replace sand and gravel. Plasphalt is said to be less prone to wear and tear compared to the traditional asphalt used in building roads.

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Engr. Ninez Hernandez
A sensitive flirt, an awkward tease and a metallurgical engineer, surprisingly.


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