Sarah Dolan

StoneCycling: Sustainable Building, Brick by Brick

Sarah Dolan

Reduce, reuse, recycle. The “Three Rs” remind us of the ever-increasing importance of sustainability. From little things like throwing a plastic bottle in the recycling bin rather than the trash can to larger lifestyle changes, environmental responsibility is something on many people’s minds. A company based in the Netherlands is working to build on (or, in their case, build with) our understanding of sustainable waste is.

Ward Massa and Tom van Soest both come from a design background, having graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven, located in the Netherlands. Together, they founded StoneCycling in 2013. The company converts industrial waste from the ceramic, glass and insulation industries into new building materials. These “WasteBasedBricks” bring together sustainability and design. By taking waste that would ordinarily end up in a landfill and putting it to new use, StoneCycling is changing the way we recycle. “The problem is that waste is still seen as waste,” Massa said in an interview with the Smithsonian. “We think waste is an opportunity to make new things.”

Each one of the WasteBasedBricks has a different “recipe,” creating a unique look and feel. These recipes are kept secret, but the company claims “if you are really curious” you can give them a call. StoneCycling collaborates with architects and demolition companies to procure the waste. Their goal is to “erase the word waste from the dictionary” by showing that all materials can be repurposed and reused.

StoneCycling’s recent projects include a house in Rotterdam and a pavilion in Amsterdam, both of which are made completely from recycled—or “upcycled”—waste. The house is a four-story home built in the city center of Rotterdam. It is made from over 33,000 pounds of waste! StoneCycling’s pavilion was located in FabCity, a temporary campus in Amsterdam. It was built in honor of Amsterdam hosting the European Union in the spring of 2016, and was moved at the end of June. The pavilion, called the “TrueTalker,” had a campfire in the middle, with light peeking out between the spaced pattern of the recycled bricks. The campfire offered an invitation to sit down and share ideas, just as the politicians do when the European Union convenes.

Did You Know?

StoneCycling isn’t the first to come up with the idea of 100 percent recycled houses. Prince Edward Island in Canada is home to three “bottle houses”—each made out of thousands of glass bottles held together with cement. The first bottle house, known as the six gabled house was built over a six-month period in 1980, using around 12,000 bottles!


Photo Credit: @_StoneCycling

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