Creating Art From Waste Materials

Create landscaped pathways or flooring using a mosaic of broken tiles or stone, says Anupama Mohanram

According to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, over 530 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste is generated in India annually/ This is a staggering figure considering we are only going to see a continued growing demand for construction activities in the years to come.So what can we do with all this waste other than, of course, dumping them in a landfill to either fill up a water body or pollute our soil further? One necessary task every construction project should take is to segregate the waste and dispose the same sensibly to ensure recovery and recycling of what is possible.However, more than recycling, re-using materials, especially within the same project out of which they have been generated, creates a truly sustainable construction process. During construction, the project team should identify the kind of waste that can be re-used and ensure a plan is in place.

Myriad possibilities

When thought through, there are multiple possibilities of such re-use. One such is to create landscaped pathways or flooring using a mosaic of broken tiles, stone and other waste material.The process can be creative and interesting and could result in truly innovative art on the ground. Patterns could be created from an array of different coloured and patterned tiles, making a visually interesting path to tread on. This simple process can thus avoid pollution from the manufacturing and transportation of new paving material.

Another creative use of such waste is to evolve art on the building’s walls, ensuring a façade that is artistic and interesting. Other ways include using broken pieces of wire against walls to run planting on, using wood shavings as effective mulch for plants, used paint barrels as bins for recyclable waste after occupancy, and so on. One interesting example of creative art from waste is Nek Chand’s garden in Chandigarh, spread over an area of 40 acres and completely built of waste such as bottles, glasses, tiles, sinks, electrical waste, broken pipes, etc.

Rules in place

In March 2016, ‘Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules’ were formulated with an aim to recover, recycle and reuse the waste generated from construction and demolition activities.There are multiple methods listed to help effectively manage these wastes. A year later, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) also drafted guidelines for handling construction and demolition waste. However, even as of today, we do not see mandatory enforcement of these rules in most construction projects in the city.With proper enforcement of these rules combined with creative thinking from architects and builders, multiple possibilities could be envisioned. This will ensure waste left behind on a construction site is put to good use.


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