Recycled Materials

Using recycled materials can reduce your project's carbon footprint

Posted by: David Pennington
Posted on: 7th October 2016
Posted in: Animals, News

Starting a new project is sometimes difficult enough without also trying to incorporate recycled materials. However, we recognise that in order to be a sustainable organisation, it’s important that all of our projects use recycled materials as it’s a good way to reduce the carbon footprint and negative impact on the environment of the building work we are undertaking.

Why? – recycling is transforming a waste product into something useful. It can mean objects that are no longer needed can be used rather than going to landfill. We only have one planet and there isn’t an infinite amount of raw materials so we need to design with sustainability in mind. Choosing recycled products shows manufacturers that there is a demand for those products and this can lead to expanding choice. Where possible, choose recycled.

Ok, we understand why we should choose recycled materials but it isn’t always easy. Here’s how we sourced and made use of recycled materials; there’s lots to consider with planning a new project and it is likely that there are many ways that the nearby environment will be affected. Modern project planning should always consider what this impact is going to be and where possible or practical, look for alternatives- such as responsibly sourced and recycled materials! Early in 2016 we were tasked with these challenges and we hope you find what we learnt useful for your projects so you can recycle some of our advice!

Bongo antelope

Changes at the safari park required new building projects

For those that follow safari news, you will know the drive has been through some changes in the past 12 months and we have also had some new arrivals. The changes on the safari drive saw our bongo antelope move to a new area which needed a shelter building. We’ve also had some major changes around the foot safari as we welcomed 2 new South American bush dogs which were also needing a new house. At the park we are always busy, a lot of work goes in to running Knowsley Safari but it’s important to us that we don’t forget the ecological side of things as we try to budget for new projects. The exciting changes around the park meant we needed to look at what materials we could use in the construction of new building projects. This task fell to our animal division and we caught up with the team this week to talk to the project leader Stuart on how he went about making sure these new buildings were making the most out of recycled material.

Bongo and bush dogs

There couldn’t be two more different species, one of the world’s largest antelopes from Africa and the world’s smallest pack hunting dog! This means that they have very different needs but when it came to their housing we wanted to use recycled materials for both. In the summer of 2016 both had new areas created for them but required an indoor shelter for when there is poor weather. When it comes to building materials, there really is a huge variety. All depends on what your criteria is for the project and your budget. When working with animals it is important that the materials are strong and durable. Many people don’t realise just how strong animals are.

The bongo is one of the largest antelope in the world, they have huge spiralled horns which are perfectly designed for defending themselves and for cooling the blood. The power and strength of a bongo together with their abilities with horns can lead to them causing damage as they test their strength and rub up against the inside of their house! Not everyone will need to make their building projects bongo proof but if your criteria is also for materials that are durable there are options for strong and recycled materials.

keeper jon shows off the new bongo house

Options for building materials

The walls of the bongo house needed to withstand a thorough thrashing from an adult male bongo. Normally our options would be concrete or heavy duty plywood. Both these options suit the criteria of being strong and durable but concrete isn’t the best choice for the environment if it can be avoided, because of the carbon footprint. Plywood can be a very good alternative if it is responsibly sourced from sustainable timber. Ply is strong and reasonably easy to work with however it does require replacing after a period of time. We needed something that could be an alternative to line the walls of both the bongo and bush dog house. If we could also have something that was made from recycled waste then that would be ideal.

And wouldn’t you know, that very material is a reality! Stokboard was a perfect solution, meeting the criteria for the bongo and bush dog house. The lining for both houses was kindly donated by a local company Centriforce. The board is flexible and durable, perfect for our needs so the fact it is made from recycled materials was another box checked for us. We’re more than happy with the results. We recently met up with animal keeper Jon and he took some time out of his day to show us around the new building, and the way recycled materials have been used. While we were in the house the bongo came in for a look to see what we were doing and even stayed while we took pictures of the insides.

Bongo antelope sniffs the camera lens

Bongo antelope sniffs the camera lens.

Article by: David Pennington

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