Dam that Waste Stream

Dam that Waste Stream

July 10, 2011 Community 0

We’ve had some excitement here over the last few days and the building team has been as busy as bees. The Community Commons’ Foundation was poured last week allowing us to move into the next phase of building.  Local companies have donated huge amounts of materials, time and energy to the project and OUR gratitude goes out to the following:


Andrew Mitchell, Sales manager, at KT Pumping out of Mill Bay made a full donation of time and services for a pumper truck during concrete pour at “The Community Commons – Phase I”

Murray from Surespan Ready Mix in Duncan contributed a partial donation of whole foundation system concrete pour for “Community Commons – Phase I”

Peter from JP Construction in Duncan contributed a partial donation of all re bar and foundation forms rental for “Community Commons – Phase I”

and last but not least a shout out to our builders here on-site. The movers and shakers of the natural building world!
Thank you for all involved.

This weekend marks the beginning of the Community Commons wall construction. Robert Laporte was here yesterday, sharing knowledge and passion about Clay-Fiber Walls with everyone on site. It is now the building teams opportunity to take what they’ve learned and build some spectacular natural walls!

Being a part of the Living Building Challenge has us all aware of the amount of waste that can be created when it comes to building. Luba, OUR architect on this project, has posed the question: “What can be done with used construction materials that may otherwise end up being dumped mindlessly into the Waste Stream?” An important question we should all ask ourselves, especially since the norm in construction is consuming and dumping. Many of us here, and in the wider community are aware that waste doesn’t simply disappear it just gets relocated, like the middle of oceans, or our neighbors back yards.

The materials salvaged from the former office building are to be reused in other building and projects on site to the best of our ability. We want to minimize our waste back into the waste stream and  show the world that you can make beautiful, functional spaces, that are low impact on the environment and good for the people who use them. But the one material that we are sitting on tons of, literally, is drywall.

Luba brings forth some very deserving points below and I’d like to share them with you to open up a dialog regarding the construction waste stream.  If you have thoughts on recycling drywall, comments or would like to take on a little recycling project yourself here at OUR Ecovillage, feel free to share below or contact us.  We are always looking for creative solutions to problems not solved yet!

And now for Luba……

There comes a point where the simple gesture of sending materials into the landfill by default is no longer acceptable. Building materials once deemed desirable for building practices are found toxic and/or unsuitable for any use later on. It is this mind set of the cradle-to-grave life cycle of material that is causing OUR planet to have a little shiver.

I’m trying to divert a rather large amount of drywall away from the landfill. It’s from a 800 sq. ft building which we deconstructed. I’ve looked into the MSDS sheets for reasons why we shouldn’t be able to deal with it on OUR 25 acre site and can find none. The drywall is from Westroc (cerianteed) and it’s 5/8″ type X Gypsum Wallboard. These are the ingredients I’m finding:
– gypsum
– Calcium sulphate
– crystalline silica as quarts
– glass fiber reinforcement (used as a fire retardant)
– cellulose (paper fiber)
– crystalline silica fume (it’s a carcinogen if breathed in for a long time)
– starch
– sodium purithione

In the past, it has been used in its crushed form to make clay soil more suitable for gardening and balance the Ph. Our gardens here are very sandy so that won’t be appropriate.

Please share your thoughts and experiences to help OUR Ecovillage as an educational demonstration site for sustainable living


Vanishing Act By Jeremy Hung Uploaded for Possible Futures Film Contest: A project of The Pachamama Alliance and Four Years Go.


Leave a Reply