Scratchworks
To Stop Construction Waste, We Can Stop Wasting Things

We don’t like to call anything waste. Waste, in our minds, is something to be reduced, and we set targets to do exactly that every time we gather in The Fields. Waste isn’t something that’s inevitable, necessary, or even acceptable. Waste is just the misuse or under-appreciation of useful resources.

One industry that is suffocating under its own waste is construction. Global construction and demolition waste is expected to top 2.2 billion Tons by 2025, with up to a third of the material delivered to construction sites ending up in the trash. Less than 10% of that waste is recycled, and even less is reused. That means that up to a third of everything that’s mined, grown, harvested, manufactured, transported, crafted, cut, carried, and contributed to the final built form is going to end up in landfill.

That’s a lot of under-appreciated resources. Useful materials, with plenty of life (or second life) left in them. By reusing, repurposing, and refashioning hard and soft materials, designers and architects can fight against waste, imagine new uses to treasure trash, celebrate materials, and add a layer of narrative richness to a space or structure.

Which is the part of the story when Ab Rogers Design comes to mind. The creative, sustainable architecture studio based in the UK has left plenty of natural, inventive touches on The Fields since we moved to our new permanent Wonderfruit venue in 2018. Part of what makes Ab and his team’s work so interesting is the way they consider material use as a core part of the design process. Designs will be proposed by the studio that use recycled fabrics, upcycled construction waste, or repurposed timbers without ever being suggested as a consideration for the design.

By making zero-waste building practises a standard part of the design and construction processes, mindsets can change. With a refreshed view towards the use of materials, we can disrupt the way materials are valued in the traditional supply chain, and show ways to easily and cheaply reduce or reuse materials.

The Fields are our domain. But as with all the decisions we make and actions we take, we want to show that if it can be done in our pop-up city, the ideas involved can be carried to the outside world as well. Which is why our entranceway, the very first part of Wonderfruit that most people have contact with, is a reflection of our zero-waste ambitions. Designed by Ab Rogers, the gateway to The Fields is made using fabric and timber that would be landfill at a traditional construction site. It’s bright, colourful, vibrant, and makes no negative impact on the environment. Just how we like it.

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