No one likes a house that won’t be around for a long time. But as our cities develop and our housing programs expand, that permanence is starting to become a problem. Cities around the world are littered with abandoned buildings, ruins, and structures that are difficult to remove, and are costly when it’s time to do so.
This problem of buildings and structures that we don’t want anymore is the reason sustainable and environmentally-friendly housing is on the rise. Litegroup notes that materials such as lightweight honeycomb cardboard cores, composite and recycled building materials, and high-tech polymer builds are starting to replace most of the traditional housing, and for good reason.
Why is this necessary
Let’s face it: The majority of the things we’ve built will outlive us for a ridiculous length of time. Our monuments, furniture, buildings, and fixtures are all designed with longevity in mind, but not accounting for decay. This is fine when these things will always be needed and can always be maintained, but time has shown us that isn’t always the case.
There are many reasons why we throw or abandon things. Maybe they aren’t stable enough, or something better comes along. Perhaps a natural disaster or some other catastrophic even justifies us leaving them. But most of the time we do so because we just don’t want them anymore — and that poses a problem when it comes to disposal.
Why disposal can be so difficult
For all the troubles we have when it comes to building things, tearing them down can be far more difficult. There are hazards involved in improper disposal and disassembly of any fixture: fine grain pollution, possible damage to other people and the environment, and lack of a processing facility for the leftover materials are a few examples. Ultimately, this leads to a situation where the waste material that we have outnumbers the building materials that we can use.
What can be done
It’s up to us to find an alternative method of making sure our waste doesn’t last, and that’s where biodegradable building materials come in. Instead of going through all the trouble to sort, process, and recycle the waste left behind by building demolition or furniture remains, it’s easier to just build them for decay.
Biodegradable housing allows us to build without guilt, using materials that are not only locally sourced but will return to their original state long after their use is over. It’s a way for us to balance our need to build things without sacrificing the need for proper disposal. It gives us plenty of ways to live a sustainable lifestyle in the future.
Before, this type of philosophy would have been impossible due to the technological limits with our tools and materials. Now, with a greater understanding of what we can work with and what happens to those materials once they’re no longer needed opens a vast possibility of options for environmentally-friendly housing, furniture, and structures.
We have built entire societies around the assumption that they should last forever when in reality, nothing really does. Understanding this fact and creating better tools and materials to cope with this is key to building a more sustainable future for ourselves and this planet.