Evaluating possible options for reusing borer-infested post-demolition timber in New Zealand

  • YEAR
    Graham, Lucia
    Petrović, Dr Emina Kristina
    2022 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers


Overconsumption contributes to irreversible environmental damage. The issues arise from resource extraction, processing, and disposal. Therefore, there is an urgency to develop techniques and strategies to keep materials in the loop for longer. Reusing reclaimed building materials could be a pivotal method to reduce overall material waste and decrease the need for new extraction, looking at demolition waste as a potential reservoir for future materials. The specific focus of this paper is the investigation of the opportunities for extending the lifespan of demolition timber. Post-demolition timber is found in a range of different conditions. One consideration is whether the timber infested with wood-boring insects (borer) should be recovered. A sustainable evaluation has been made on the most suitable treatment of borer, considering toxicity and energy involved, and identifying microwaves as an effective solution. Although reusing timber post borer infestation may not apply to an extensive range of situations, this work shows that there are real possibilities for the non-toxic treatment of the issue for in-situ timber. Borer thrives in climates with high levels of humidity, and with climate change, humidity levels in New Zealand are expected to increase, which will lead to an increase in borer. It was found that more work is needed to bring the application of microwave treatment to the mainstream market. The overarching aim of this paper is to stimulate others to explore waste material proactively, as waste material will play a vital role in the sustainable development of the construction industry.

Keywords: C&D Waste, circular economy, reuse, microwaves.


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