An unequivocal yes to such a question is exactly what former Dutch design students Tom van Soest and Ward Massa are hoping for after creating the waste-utilizing company StoneCycling. Devised in 2013 as a way to get the full potential out of the globe’s ever-existing masses of waste, StoneCycling’s innovative building solution is already being used as the primary construction material on a home in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
While studying at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, Netherlands, roughly three years ago, van Soest directed his studies toward finding a suitable way to make use of the materials left over following the demolition of a building. However, he quickly realized that demolition companies tend to fall buildings by using the absolute cheapest methods available, meaning the resulting mixture of waste building materials isn’t near the level of purity van Soest desired. Instead, the focus shifted to acquiring waste from various local factories.
“We like to use only secondary materials,” StoneCycling co-founder Massa told FastCo Exist. “That way, it doesn’t end up somewhere in a landfill or being sent to other countries — we reuse it as new raw materials.”
According to the StoneCycling website, the exact recipe behind the company’s many different types of bricks remains a secret, however, it will indulge anyone curious enough to email. Each brick carries its own unique moniker such as Salt, Caramel, Mushroom, or Nougat, which pertains to the look of the product, not necessarily what the brick is actually made of. StoneCycling has even found that mixing various waste building materials has produced a host of different opportunities the company has been able to take advantage of.
Concerning the cheap demolition methods of old, the company has partnered with key players in the construction industry and demolition businesses, as well as area lawmakers, in an attempt to reform demolition practices. In light of this recent push for change, other advocates have even gone so far as to propose setting up what’s been called a “building material passport,” that is, a list of each material used in the construction of a building.
“What we see now is if we are willing to guarantee that we will buy a certain waste material, there’s an incentive for them to demolish in a purer way,” Massa added. “So we see very slowly that it’s changing, but it will take some years before it becomes policy.”
As of now, the home in Rotterdam is the only building currently being constructed using StoneCycling’s innovative concoctions but the duo says their products could easily scale to size with a bit of investment backing. Moving forward, StoneCycling plans on moving into the United States but would prefer to forage waste materials in the U.S. as opposed to shipping its existing products overseas.