Hobart’s Resource Work Cooperative has an ambitious plan to prevent used building materials ending up in landfill.
But to be successful it needs more builders and developers to get on board.
The cooperative’s Urban Salvage program sees skip bins delivered to demolition sites.
It wants to collect as much reusable material — things like bricks, wood, windows — as possible when a building is pulled down.
“Even if you’re just knocking down your back room and you’ve got three windows, we can come and pick it up,” coordinator Molly Kendall told Helen Shield on ABC Radio Hobart.
Ms Kendall said some demolition teams were reluctant to separate materials on site.
“It saves the demo team on dumping fees, but it takes a bit more time to walk to the skip bin they need to put the windows in or the bricks in,” she said.
The Tip Shop at McRobe’s Gully in South Hobart sells a range of building materials that have come from demolition sites.
“Windows are a really popular thing that we get from urban salvage and decon; as the old walls come down the windows come out … pretty much intact,” Ms Kendall said.
“People love them, not just for building their new extensions but also for their greenhouses.”
Deconstructing a house by hand
The Urban Salvage program was started as a way to keep recycling on building sites going while the co-op’s deconstruction team is on hold.
“We’ve got a long history of taking down houses,” Ms Kendall said.
“We do it a bit differently in that we take it down by hand.
“It’s actually not as slow a process than it is bringing in a big excavator and machinery.”
Last year the co-op posted a video demonstrating its deconstruction process which generated a lot of community interest.
But unfortunately the project coordinator left soon after and the demo team has been on standby ever since.
“We’ve got a whole bunch of workers and they’ve all got their white cards, ready to go,” she said.
“But unfortunately, because we’re a not-for-profit … we can’t really match the building and construction industry [in wages], so I guess we’re basically looking for someone who needs a bit of a heart job on the side.”
A list of what can and cannot be reused by the Resource Work Cooperative from a building site can be found on its website.