What Are Some Different Recycled Building Materials?

Examples of recycled building materials include glass bottles, aluminum cans, tires, wood pallets, cardboard and scrap metal. Houses, houseboats and temples have also been built with airplanes, ships, silos and shipping containers.

Glass bottles are used to erect buildings that need to contain thermal mass. Glass bottles are also a great way to enhance a building's visual appeal by giving it a glowing stained glass effect. Aluminum cans are stacked and mortared with earth or lime as makeshift bricks for "Earthship" buildings, sustainable dwellings that utilize whatever nearby natural resources are available.

Tires are a recycled material often used for their ability to keep a building warm in winter and cool during the hotter months of the year. They have also been used in the construction of "Earthship" homes and other buildings that are constructed in the earth. Intact wooden pallets can be nailed together and used to bear a brunt of the weight of a shed or any other type of small building. Pallets are also known for their ability to filter sunlight on a building's exterior.

Cardboard has been used in the construction of emergency structures and other quickly-set, temporary types of buildings. When combined with a HDPE plastic membrane, cardboard can be used to construct a waterproof house made entirely from recycled materials.