Could waste be the biggest and potentially most valuable resource available in our cities today?

1.3 billion tons of municipal solid waste is generated every year by cities worldwide. By 2025 it is predicted that this will have risen to 2.2 billion tons, half of it coming from China. But, will this make China the biggest polluter in the world? Or could it be the country with the largest and richest of resources?

In their book, Hebel, Wisniewska and Heisel, plus expert contributors, seek to provide those involved the building industry, from architects to builders, environmentalists to engineers, with alternative ways of thinking about waste – what it means and how we use it. What if this dead-end substance, currently only fit to be covered by thick layers of earth or burned, was, in fact, a meaningful resource teeming with opportunity? When a natural resource is transformed into a product with a limited lifespan, what’s stopping society being able to make a profit from constant reformulation? Could waste become an integral part of our architectural design philosophy instead of excluding it from the creative process?

Providing both a conceptual and practical examination of materials and products which use waste as a renewable source, this informative and inspirational book looks at a range of current projects and building elements, from marketed projects to advanced research and development. Divided into five chapters, sorted according to the types of processes that turn the unwanted into something valuable, and packed with more than 265 colour photographs and 70 drawings, BUILDING FROM WASTE also includes a directory of materials and projects, listed according to their functional uses in construction and, what’s more, seeks to go beyond the mere recycling aspect of reused materials to look into innovative concepts of how materials usually regarded as waste can be processed into new construction elements.