When waste doesn't need to be wasted…


A focus on industry

In our previous blog updates we’ve mentioned how successful the recycling revolution has been in Australia; many individuals and businesses are taking the initiative to find new ways to dispose of their waste responsibly and the trend is catching on.

Despite this, millions of tonnes of waste still finds its way into Australian landfill sites every year, which begs the question: where is all this waste coming from? Well, we believe the answer lies with industry.

After talking with a number of industry leaders, it has become obvious that many see waste disposal as a cost and a liability rather than an opportunity. As many industries face economic difficulty, high costs and reduced profits may lead to waste being pushed back into landfill.

The recycling industry is not immune. Less consumer spending leads to less manufacturing, which cuts down on the need for recycled goods like cardboard for packaging. As prices plunge, recyclers may reduce their activity. (Ruggeri 2009, p. 58)

Many businesses face a range of problems when deciding how to get rid of waste: issues with cost, convenience, and reliability are significant, and many are simply unaware of cost effective methods for reducing their waste. In addition, current skip collectors are utilizing landfill almost exclusively to dispose of their industrial waste.

At Salvage Warehouse, our business model is simple: provide cost effective, environmentally sustainable solutions to our customers for their waste disposal.

We’ve seen our business develop over the past few months and we’re steadily growing our partnerships with a range of industry leaders in Melbourne, working hard to change the status quo and provide quality solutions to our partners.

We believe this is evidence that industry and businesses are just as keen as us to recycle responsibly given the right opportunities and avenues.

-Patrick (6953638)


Ruggeri, A 2009, ‘Heap of Trouble for Recycling Industry; High costs and bottled-up profits may push waste back to the landfills,’ Health Business Elite, Vol. 146(3), p. 58



Recycling at Home

At the Salvage Warehouse, we’re not only focused on reusing and reselling quality building and construction materials to our customers, but we’re also passionate about educating the wider community on the importance of reducing our waste. We believe every individual must do their own bit – and this begins at home.

Recycling at home is something that every individual and household can participate with, and there are a range of benefits we can achieve from recycling at home. Recycling at home:

  •  Directs waste away from landfill, reducing the impact on valuable natural habitats
  • Saves our natural resources and forests from unsustainable exploitation
  • Less energy is used in the production and processing of recycled materials, reducing dangerous emissions from entering the atmosphere
  • Using recycled materials can save you money when compared to ‘buying new’ and can help reduce the costs associated with expensive waste collection fees

These are some of the benefits we can think of – What other benefits can you think of?

Australians are great at recycling. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has illustrated our growing commitment to recycling, with 91% of Australian households practicing some form of waste recycling in 1996. By 2009, this trend had grown to 98%. (ABS 2013)

But we can always do better… while these statistics tell us the number of households that have recycled at least one item during the previous 12 months; they do not indicate the volume of household waste that is actually recycled.


We’re working with our friends at the City of Melbourne to help educate the wider community about the benefits of recycling. Visit their website to learn how you too can ‘Recycle Right.”

-Patrick (6953638)


Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013, Measure of Australia’s Progress: Household Recycling, viewed 24 May 2013,


Consider the real cost of using new materials…

Many of us when going to buy construction materials only see the item itself and ignore all of the costs and factors that went into producing it. For example a pallet of timber two by fours don’t simply grow on a ‘two by four tree’ and magically appear at a construction site.

To get the timber to a state you can use it is a long and arduous process. The trees take decades to grow to a point there are large enough to be usable for use before they are cut down. It then needs to be transported from the forests in remote areas from where it is grown to a timber mill where it is then cut to size. Many off cuts are discarded or turned into saw dust in this process if they are defective, not considered fit for purposed due to, rot, termites, cracks or fungus. The wood must then be treated with toxic chemicals to strengthen it for use in construction. The timber is then package and distributed to hardware stores across the country or over the seas to countries that seek unique Australian grains of timber.

So consider, next time you buy a brand new bundle of timber two by fours, all the costs to the environment through energy and resources that went into producing that one bundle. Then consider by reusing materials a second time you can effectively halve that cost, think about it…

Did I mention we have just taken delivery of a truck load of re-furbished construction grade timber saved from landfill which is sitting on our shelves at a price comparable to your local regular hardware store. So if you’re planning your next construction job come on by and help make a positive difference to the environment.

Ben Crawford 6967191


Just because it is harvested once, that doesn’t mean it can only be used once…

Given we live in a world of finite resources, where we are beginning to realise a lot of the naturally occurring resources we use in all aspects of our life will eventually run out it is important to realise we must do take steps to reduce our rate of consumption for such resources.

According to Bjorn Berge (2009) ‘Non-rewable resources are those that can only be harvested once’. At Salvage Warehouse we believe that whilea resource may be harvested only once it can be used many more times than just once.

This concept is beginning to spread around the world. In Sweden a house was commissioned by the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning that would be affordable for the average family and make use of many recycled materials as possible. Studies conducted on the house found that the completed structure a three bedroom house with two bathrooms and a carport was composed of 40% (by weight) re-used materials almost 100 tonnes!

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 10.10.45 PM

The Recycled house (Architect P. Lewis Jonsson)

Not only did this mean 100 tonnes of materials did not need to be added to the ever growing mountains of waste and landfill but it meant that an additional100 tonnes of materials need not be produced for the project.

We believe we can all make a difference and help reduce the impact we have by reducing landfill contribution and the use of resources and energy required to produce new materials for use in construction. We can do this by recognizing the fact that while resources may only be able to be harvested once but can be used multiple times.

Ben Crawford 6967191


Berge, B 2009, The Ecology of Building materials, 2nd edn, Elsevier Publishing, Oxford

Thormark, C, 2000 Environmental Analysis of a building with reused building materials, Department of Building Science, Lund Institute of Technology, Sweden

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Salvage Warehouse’s first ‘Pop Up Store’. We need your help!


So we’re planning on launching Salvage Warehouse’s first ‘Pop Up Store’ and we need your help!

We want to tap into that into that vibrant and environmentally conscious spirit Melbournians seem to have. We are going to be setting up a couple of temporary stalls around Melbourne to show off what we are all about and listen to what you’d like to see stocked in our warehouse to help you with that next project you have planned.

‘But what is a Pop Up Store?’ you may ask. It is a reasonably new concept designed along the themes of guerrilla marketing best described by Pavalli Gogoi of Business week (2007)

‘A pop-up store opens up at an empty retail location for a few days in a major city, or a mall, with great fanfare. And then, poof! It’s gone’

While a pop up store is not in most cases designed to a source of revenue but instead to create interest in a unique manner, giving potential customers a brief taste of what the business has to offer with the hope of creating an appetite in a new or existing market for the business’s product or services. Footwear company K-Swiss made use of Pop-Up Store in Paris when they were attempting to first enter the French market as part of their ‘brand activation strategy’. The concept aims to garner interest in the company as ‘it gives people a taste of your product and keep it fresh and always on peoples minds.’ (Tran 2008)

So what will our pop up store have? We’re planning on displaying some of the kind of raw materials we have to offer as well as showcasing a range of creations some of customers have conjured up using our unique products. We want to emphasise to the public that we are an environmentally friendly alternative to the hardware giants like Bunnings and Master as well as the fact we offer better value for money from our materials.

So come along and see how we’re growing as a business and all the latest from the Up-Cycling community.


If you are one of our amazing customers who have created something special and trendy with Salvaged materials we’d love to hear from you so we can help tell your story of up-cycled DIY and construction projects.

Ben Crawford 6967191

Gogoi, P, 2007, Pop-Up Stores: All the Rage, Business Week 2007, <;

Tran, T, 2008, Creative concepts popping up in retail, Women’s Wear Daily, 2008, pg 196


Educating the Community

At salvage warehouse, we believe that education is key to developing more environmentally friendly recycling practices. Following this belief, we organised a recycling day at a local primary school. Our goal was to teach the children what happens to rubbish once it’s thrown away and what happens to it when it is recycled, through some fun and interactive presentations and activities. The overall aim was to show everyone what they can do to stop waste from going to landfill.


Here we have one of our speakers explaining the recycling process to a year 5 class


We helped some year 6 students make a “recycling station”

After a successful day the students and teachers thanked us for what we had taught them and said they had a very fun day. We hope to organise more of these events in future and not just at schools. We want to work with local councils and clubs to promote our principles of reusing and recycling.

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Landfill Harmonic


The town of Cateura, situated along the banks of the Paraguay River, was built virtually on top of a landfill site. Poor management of the region’s waste has resulted in more than 1,500 tonnes of solid waste making its way into the area each day. Many families are forced to live in close proximity to the dangerous waste, and suffer from the ill effects of contamination to their water supply.

But imagination and creativity has emerged from the poverty stricken Cateura in the form of music. Favio Chávez, a local landfill worker and musician, is working with the youth of Cateura to create the Landfill Harmonic.

With their slogan, “The world sends us garbage. We send back music,” the inspiring group is recycling and reusing waste to build musical instruments and establish The Recycled Orchestra.

This story got us thinking: what other creative ways can you think of to reuse your waste?

To learn more about the Landfill Harmonic, check out their video:

To support, check out their Facebook page:

-Patrick (6953638)