Urbanite: Repurposing Old ConcreteUsing broken concrete for eco-friendly patios, walkways and planters
An urbanite patio stained with iron sulfate. Photo courtesy of Terra Nova Ecological Landscaping.
With the desire to live in an eco-friendly fashion at its height, people are looking for creative ways to reuse old building materials in new construction. One such material is urbanite, or broken up pieces of concrete that can be reused in a variety of ways. While, using urbanite for a project requires extra human effort, it keeps waste concrete from filling up landfills and requires little or no production energy.
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Urbanite is a term that refers to broken pieces of unwanted concrete leftover from a demolition project. Urbanite can be locally sourced at construction sites or found on Craigslist, and is usually free if you are willing to haul it away. Bloggers interested in sustainable building materials have reported using urbanite for patios, walkways, flower beds, fire pits, retaining walls and other outdoor structures.
Urbanite can be used to create a patio or walkway that looks similar to flagstone. Some urbanite enthusiasts have even stained the pieces of concrete with environmentally friendly products for an added decorative appeal. The spaces between the urbanite pieces can be filled with sand or gravel, or you can plant ground cover that will grow nicely between them. The installation process for urbanite is similar to installing stone or pavers. Do your research before embarking on an urbanite patio or walkway project.
If you are in the construction business and have urbanite available, make it known, you'd be surprised at how many people would be happy to have it. You can get the word out with a simple sign, or post an ad on Craigslist. You may even be able to encourage the owner of the property to reuse some of the concrete as flowerbeds or stepping stones.