Have you ever thought about how much material gets used once and thrown away? Or is not financially worth re-using? Or how most people won’t be satisfied buying something second hand, it has to be new?

Somewhat in tune with Transition Network’s December theme of “Less is More”  I thought it would be of interest to look at the materials we are using in the Insect Hotel build.

The structure is supported on waste flag stones donated to the garden. The four uprights used to be fence that ran across the garden and was blown down in the gales a year or two ago, the horizontal shelf supports too. Those bracing pieces are temporary…

Week 5 – all we need now is the habitats… and the bugs!

Click below to read how the roof was put together…

This week, the students from Gatton raised the roof, along with David, Sharon, Esther and I. The roof is made of amazing 4b2 timber – this particular stuff came out of our loft when we were lucky enough to convert it a year ago. The booming domestic renovation business is not set up at all to re-use or recycle. Time and money rule, and its cheaper to dump these timbers in a skip than de-nail and re-use – criminal if you ask me, imagine a waterfall system of being passed onto smaller and smaller projects, but that’s another idea for another blog. The tiles too came from our job.

Detail showing roof structure and re-use timber and tile

If you need any of these materials, just go for a bike ride and find a house wrapped in scaffolding and ask the builders. Chances are, they’d be more than happy to offload it too you (you might need a bigger vehicle than a bike to transport it!) as it reduces their waste costs and so increases their profit as this is already figured into a fixed price to the client.

The only thing new so far on the build is the tile batons – I couldn’t find any re-use ones, unfortunately. However, when I went to buy them, I found out my local timber merchant has stacks and stacks of pallets, considered an inconvenient waste and were kind enough to drop 5 of them round to the garden – that’s the rest of the shelving material sorted! The simplest Insect Hotels are made from skips, so if you’re looking to do one… check out here for pallet-based inspiration.

And here for a previous blogpost on innovation in building waste re-use.