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To build a world free from waste, construction companies must choose eco-friendly building materials.

Innovative recycled building materials are the potential problem-solver to the waste that construction sites generate. Hence, using materials that are recyclable and biodegradable will reduce the wastage from these sites.

Cement is the most used material within construction due to its endurance and solidity. It is the foundation of our homes, parks, and pavements. However, concrete is one of the most harmful materials to the planet, with a staggering carbon footprint. Thus, its impact on the environment is far more significant than the one plastic has. However, this is overlooked as it is not seen as severe as plastic pollution.

In the city of London, areas are continuously under development and new-builds under construction. As a cosmopolitan city, construction sites will always create more buildings, more parks, more homes, and more of everything. Moreover, London is only becoming busier with taller buildings and trendy-looking spaces. Hence, new and eco-friendly approaches to construction are in much need.

In order to find out how eco-friendly building materials can help reduce greenhouse gases emissions, I attended the Festival of Sustainability at the Barbican Centre -where a wide range of entrepreneurs put forward their innovative and sustainable products.

The range of ideas proposed during the event were sustainable solutions to problems that almost every major city faces. And by using these collectively, it would have a significant positive impact on pollution and us. Here are the two proposed ideas that caught my attention.

Criaterra Earth Technologies uses unfired clay to make ceramic tiles. Unfired clay turns into dust when smashed, which is sustainable as the dust goes back to Earth. Unfortunately, conventional concrete bricks are not environmentally friendly or biodegradable. Hence, this innovative product is a great way to build homes, creating zero waste. During the talk, Criaterra founder, Adital Ele, shared how this project came to fruition. During a stay in India, she stopped to have a cup of Chai tea from a mug made of sun-dried clay that she tossed into the ground afterward, turning it into dust. She mentioned how the bricks used for building purposes in some parts of India are sun-dried, environmentally friendly. Even though Criaterra is well-known mainly in Iran, it needs more recognition worldwide to tackle wastage from building constructions. Still, it is a resourceful material to use in both developed and under-developed countries.

However, the following proposal is the one that caught my eye the most. One that would make an instant and significant impact in the city of London - to start using more cargo bikes around the city to reduce the carbon emissions from vehicles on the roads. Cargo bikes are electric. Therefore, a need for power stations around the city was the proposition. This idea would reduce carbon emissions from vehicles, the number of cars on the roads while promoting a healthier lifestyle all around the city. Unfortunately, even though it was a great proposal, it was still under-developed and needed much capital to come to fruition.

This idea struck me because it promotes an eco-friendly way to move around a busy city while reducing pollution. London would become the pioneer city that puts it forward, resulting in more towns taking the same step.

I live hoping that this project will happen in the near future.

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