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Home Materials A-Z

Materials A-Z

The following list of Construction & Demolition materials is designed to help identify what materials you have and how to classify them.

By classifying and listing your materials you can maximise your recycling efforts and minimise the cost of sending materials to landfill.

  Material Definition EPA Classification


Course-medium, granula material used in construction. Often consists of sand, crushed stone, gravel etc. Mixed with binding material to create concrete or base.

Alloy Steel

Alloy steel is composed of different compounds such as zinc, nickel, copper, bronze etc. It is strong, tough and corrosion resistant.


Aluminium is resistant to corrosion and is therefore commonly used for doors, windows, roofs and exterior structures.


The term asbestos refers to a group of six naturally occurring mineral fibres: chrysotile, anthrophyllite, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite and actinolite. While asbestos has not been used in domestic building materials since the 1980s, it can still exist in older buildings. Since December 31, 2003 it has been illegal to sell, install or reuse asbestos in Australia. Check with your local waste authority about guidelines for the management of asbestos in recycling C&D waste.

Special Waste


Asphalt, also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black, and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum. It is primarily used for road construction where it is mixed with glue/binder to create a concrete base. Asphalt paving material is commonly reclaimed and recycled, reducing the demand for new raw materials. It is usually crushed and recycled back into asphalt. Recycling asphalt pavement and shingles results in major energy savings due to the high-energy process of creating asphalt binder from oil.

General Solid Waste


Fine-grained volcanic rock often used as an aggregate in road base.


Batteries are considered hazardous waste due to their toxic contents, which includes cadmium, lead, zinc, manganese, nickel, silver, mercury and lithium. There are numerous battery collection points and services all around Australia to ensure the safe disposal of batteries.

Hazardous Waste


Timber beams are typically used to create an architectural structure such as vaulted roofs and bridges. They are often stronger than steel.


Sandstone blocks are the go-to material for retaining walls. There are highly durable, strong and stable.


Boulders are a versatile building material. They can be used for retaining walls or they can be flattened to create steps or pavers for landscaping purposes.


Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. It is used for its gold-like decorative properties and for locks, doorknobs.

Bricks & Blocks

Bricks are usually made of clay, slate, concrete, marble, granite and sandstone. They can be used on the interior or exterior of a building to provide structure and stability. They can be used to make walls, pavements, garden beds.

General Solid Waste


Bronze is an alloy of copper, tin and sometimes other metals such as aluminium. It has friction properties so is often used for locks, door handles, bearings.

Bush Brickies Sand

Bush Brickie Sand is a clay-heavy, 'cakey' sand most commonly used for brick and block work in construction.

Car Batteries


Uplifted carpet can be repurposed or recycled as mats. Carpets can also be down cycled by being shredded and used for underlay products or as insulation or padding products. 100% wool carpets are biodegradable and can be used as cover for landfills. In Australia there are also a number of carpet recycling businesses that resell used carpet in good condition.

General Solid Waste

Carpet and Underlay

Underlay is a thin layer of cushioning, often made from sponge, rubber, foam etc. Usually it is placed underneath carpet to provide comfort. Carpet is a a layer of material flooring that is usually found in the interiors of homes. It can be made from wool, polyester, polypropylene and nylon.


Ceramic is an inorganic and nonmetallic material. Pottery, porcelain, tiles are all examples of ceramic products.

Chemical Containers

Chemicals and their containers (includes paint, oil, fuel and aerosols) need careful disposal. In NSW there are multiple pick-up and drop-off locations for the safe disposal of paint tins, chemical containers and their contents. Use GreenHands business directory to find your local service.

Hazardous Waste


Chipboard is made from recycled fibers. It is dense and ranges in thickness. Chipboard is commonly used for flooring, furniture and countertops, worktops.

Chromatic Glass

Chromatic glass is glass that comes in various colours and tints. It can control daylight and transparency.


Clay is a soft, soil material that can be moulded and sculpted easily when wet. It is often used to make bricks, pottery and ceramics.


Waste concrete from construction and demolition can be recycled using a crushing and screening process that turns the waste material into new products such as drainage aggregate, roadbase, concrete packing fibres and pavement sub-base.

General Solid Waste


Copper is often used to make pipes, tubes and taps in homes. It is resistant to water and soil corrosion and is recyclable. Soft copper is often used for wiring. It conducts heat and electricity well.


Corefill is a mixture of cement, sand, and other ingredients designed to provide a flowable grout requiring only the addition of water. It is used for filling block work, such as hollow walls to provide strength and stability.

Cross Laminated Timber

It is a wood panel product created by gluing various pieces of lumber on top of each other to create a sturdier product. Can be used for walls, flooring, panels.

Crushed Sandstone

Crushed Sandstone is typically used for landscaping purposes, to fill garden beds, for decorative purposes.

Crushed Stone/Rock

Crushed rock is a form of aggregate. Crushed rock is obtained by mining rock deposit and breaking down the pieces.

Crushed Tile

Crushed tile can be used as coarse aggregate in concrete mix.

Crusher Dust

Crusher dust is a by-product of quarrying. It is used for driveway foundations or under pavers. It is primarily used to pack down a surface.

Cypress Mulch

One of the most popular mulches, Cypress mulch is a fragrant organic mulch that helps retain soil moisture, keeps soil cool and insulates plants. It is also known to repel termites and white ants.

Double Glazed Glass

Double glazed glass is created by joining two glass panels together but leaving an air gap in the middle to reduce heat loss and retain warmth. It is therefore more energy efficient. It is becoming a more commonly used product in homes.

Electrical Cables

Electrical cables are conductors that can be made of copper and aluminium etc.

Engineered Wood

Engineered wood or mass timber are derivative wood products made by binding wood particles with other synthetic materials.

Eucy Mulch

One of the most popular mulches, Eucy mulch or Eucalyptus mulch is a finer, light coloured organic mulch that helps retain soil moisture, keeps soil cool and insulates plants. It is good at suppressing the growth of weeds.

Excavated Natural Material (ENM)

Materials that are classified as Excavated Natural Material (ENM) are not 'virgin' yet they are still reusable natural soils. ENM must comprise dominantly of natural soils like sandstone, shale, clay or sand. ENM can have a minor presence of foreign materials and may not have evidence of mixing or blending with other materials. For material to be classified as ENM, it must be subject to extensive chemical, visual and physical assessment by a qualified environmental consultant. For more information on classifying material as ENM, visit the NSW EPA website:

General Solid Waste

Fibre Cement

Fibre cement is mostly used in roofing and facade products.

Filling Sand

Filling sand is usually used to fill spaces to create tight, stable areas in construction. Filling sand can be used between pavers when cementing them down.

Fire Extinguisher

Float Glass/Annealed Glass

Float glass is one of the most commonly used glass types in homes.

Fluoro Glass and Tubes

Forest Fines

Forest fines are fine-grained, stringy bark pieces that have been collected from chunky bark mulches.

Galvanised Steel

Galvanization involves applying a protective zinc coating to steel or iron to prevent rust and corrosion. Its frequently used for steel frames in buildings and outdoor structures.

Garden Mixes

Garden mix is a mix of top soil and compost. It is added to soil to prepare plant bed to encourage fertility and growth.

Garden Peat

Garden peat or peat moss is used to help retain pH balance in soil. It is a soil additive used to encourage growth and fertility.

Gas Bottles

General Solid Waste

There are two types of general solid waste (GSW) putrescible and non-putrescible (GWS: NP). Putrescible waste contains organic matter (such as food or animal material) that is likely to quickly decay. Landfills that are licensed to accept putrescible GSW need appropriate and widespread facilities in place to deal with the high production of methane gas and associated odour. When assessing whether a material is defined as GSW, it is important to follow the NSW EPA waste classification guidelines that work through the waste hierarchy of pre-classified waste.

General Solid Waste

General Solid Waste (GSW) Soil

General Solid Waste (GSW) Soil is soil material that does not meet the criteria to be classified as Virgin Excavated Natural Material (VENM) or Excavated Natural Material (ENM). Generally, soils will not meet these criteria because of an abundance of foreign materials (construction and demolition materials) present in the soil. Soil waste is normally classified as GSW by default until further testing and investigation can classify the soil as a higher order material like VENM or ENM. When testing and investigation takes place, it is also a possibility that results can return a positive identification of hazardous materials, contaminants or asbestos and the GSW soil will be classified as a lower order waste stream (Hazardous Waste or Asbestos Waste).

General Solid Waste


Glass is made from liquid sand. It is 100% recyclable and can be recycled time and time again without losing its quality or purity. Green, clear and amber glass can all be recycled and the uses for recycled glass are endless and varied. Established markets for recycled glass include: construction aggregates, recycled aggregate in concrete, decorative landscaping aggregate and abrasives such as sand paper. Recycled glass is most commonly re-blown into new glass products.

General Solid Waste

Glass Blocks

Glass blocks are typically used for decorative purposes (walls) and internal partitions. The glass is textured, it often obscures vision but still admits light.

Glued Laminated Timber

Glued laminated timber or 'glulam' is similar to cross laminated timber. It is lumber pieces/panels glued together with a moisture resistant adhesive.

Green Waste

Green waste includes vegetative waste, garden waste, timber and tree stumps and can easily be diverted from landfill by mulching or composting for reuse. To enable green waste to be recycled it must be separated and free from contaminants.

General Solid Waste


HardieFlex Sheet is a paneled light weight wall cladding solution for residential and light commercial buildings.


Hardwood is the type of timber commonly used for exterior decking purposes or for furniture due to its strength and durability. Examples of hardwood include Australian Beech, Red Mahogany, Blackbutt, Gum, Oak, Walnut, Maple.

Hardwood Chip

This chunkier type of mulch is excellent at retaining moisture in plants and keeping soil cool.

Hazardous Waste

It's paramount to our health and safety and the environment that hazardous materials be disposed of appropriately. Hazardous wastes produced by the C&D industry can include: lead-containing materials (flashings, paint), materials containing asbestos fibres, oil paints, solvents and fluorescent bulbs. Your local council will be able to advise on the requirements for the removal and disposal of hazardous waste.

Hazardous Waste

Hoop Barks

Hoop Pine bark is a medium-grained mulch that is good at retaining moisture.

Household Batteries


Insulation is a type of material mainly used for thermal purposes; containing heat.


Iron is used to make various alloy steels.

Laminated Glass

Laminated glass is made by permanently binding two sheets of glass together using a plastic/resin interlayer. Often used for automobile windows and larger buildings. It is designed not to break apart when impacted, but instead stick to the interlayer.

Laminated Veneer Lumber

Laminated Veneer Lumber is created using rotary peeled wood veneers. The grain runs parallel to the panels.


Lead is used to make items such as car batteries, pigments, ammunition, cable sheathing etc.

Leaf Mould

Leaf mould consists of decomposed leaves. It is high in nutrients.


Timber lintels are strong structural support beams/posts that are placed between two vertical structures. Lintels are commonly seen in doorways, entrances and windows.

Liquid Waste

Liquid waste refers to waste that is free-flowing at below 60 degrees Celsius or when transported and cannot be picked up by a shovel or spade. In some instances liquid waste can fall under the 'hazardous waste' heading due to its potential to contaminate soil and pollute water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 'under the Protection of the Environment Act 1997, businesses that generate liquid waste are required to manage it in a way that protects the environment and the community.' Visit the EPA website for information and fact sheets on handling and storing liquid waste, responding to spills and reducing liquid waste through cleaner production. Visit:

Liquid Waste

Lucerne Mulch

Lucerne hay, also known as alfalfa, is a mulch that is very rich in protein and minerals. It will help increase soil nitrogen and suppress weeds.


Manure is usually composed of animal feces and is used as organic fertilizer for plants.


Masonite is a hardwood made from steam-cooked and pressure-molded wood fibers. It is used for table tennis tables, ramps, linocut, and flooring.


MDF is created by breakdown hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibres and then binding the fibres together with wax or resin.


Metals are valued in construction for their stability, durability and strength. Approximately 90% of recovered C&D metal comes from commercial demolition sites. Scrap metals such as steel (includes alloy steel, stainless steel and galvanized steel), aluminum, titanium, copper (piping and wire), brass, bronze, iron and lead are melted down and reused to make new products. Scrap metal recycling reduces the need for additional mining to procure new metals for manufacturing while also reducing the amount of waste produced.

General Solid Waste

Mixed Fill

Earthy material used to fill depressions/holes and create stable a base for any construction project. Mixed fill can contain various earthy materials, and sometimes other materials such as plastic.


Mudbrick is an air-dried brick that is composed of mud, loam sand and water mixed with a binding material such as rice husks or straw.


Mulch is a layer of material laid over plant beds. It can be composed of organic or inorganic materials. It is used to retain moisture in soil, protect from weeds and improve overall health and fertility of the plants.

Newcastle Sand

Washed Newcastle Sand is a fine-grained, sharp sand used mainly for cement rendering. It is preferred as it gives a smoother finish.

Oriented Strand Board

OSB is similar to chipboard or particle board. It is manufactured using wood flake residuals that are bound together using adhesives.



Paper (along with cardboard) is a simple material to recycle. If we all work towards increasing the reuse of waste paper we can reduce the number of virgin trees being cut down to create new paper material and products. To find your nearest paper recycling business or service, visit GreenHands' directory.

General Solid Waste

Paper and Cardboard

Cardboard can be recycled into animal bedding, egg cartons or reprocessed into recycled cardboard. It can also be used as a carbon input for composts and vermicomposts. For cardboard to be recycled it needs to be dry and free from contaminants. There are many waste management companies offering collection for cardboard waste. Visit GreenHands Directory of Business.

General Solid Waste

Paving Sand

Paving sand is made with course sand and binding agent, it is sanded and compressed down to shape.


Polyvinyl Chloride or vinyl is a tougher plastic used to make toys, cling wrap and detergent bottles. It is considered one of the most hazardous plastics as it can leach various dangerous chemicals that have been linked to cancer.


Placing pebbles on plant beds can protect from weeds and soil erosion.


Polyethylene Terephthalate or PET is one of the most frequently handled plastics being that it is used for food and water containers and packaging. It is also a highly recyclable product.

Pine Bark Mulch

A more attractive mulch, Pine bark keeps soil cool and moist. It also comes in a varied range of shades and sizes.

Planter Box Mix

Planter box mix is a prepared soil mix used in planter boxes. It helps retain moisture and speed up root growth.


Plasterboard is a synthetic panel. It is a highly recyclable material and yet the majority of plasterboard is in landfill. This is because it is not being readily sorted from the C&D waste stream. However, many of the plasterboard manufacturers that supply construction sites support the recovery of clean plasterboard material. For plasterboard to be recycled it needs to be kept dry with any screws, wood or plastic removed.

General Solid Waste


The most common plastic products used in construction tend to be pipes, waffle pods and packaging films. Plastic materials include: poluethylene tetraphthalite (PET or PETE), high density polyethylene (HDPE), poly vinyl chloride (PVC), low density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS) and poly vinyl acetate (PVA). According to The Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA) the construction or building sector is a key market for plastics in Australia with the plastics used falling into two distinct categories: (i) packaging and (ii) durables (non-packaging).

General Solid Waste


Plywood is a common construction material used for flooring, wall panels, furniture, cladding. It is made from hardwood or softwood veneers that are layered together using adhesive.


Timber poles are rounded columns that are commonly used to support electrical cables/power lines, as they have lower electrical conductivity and can withstand harsher climates.


Polyethylene's are the most commonly used and circulated plastic in the world. High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) is a dense, thick, strong plastic. Used to make grocery bags, opaque bottles, shampoo bottles. It is recyclable and safer than PET. Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is a thinner, more flexible Polyethylene. Mostly used for plastic bags, plastic wrap, coffee cups. Unfortunately, it is more difficult to recycle.


Polypropylene or PP is a heat-resistant, stiff plastic used for bottles and hot food containers. It is a microwave safe plastic.


Polystyrene is the Styrofoam commonly used for food containers, egg cartons, disposable cups and bowls. It is a soft and highly breakable plastic. It is considered quite toxic. It has a low recycling rate.


Timber posts are usually thicker cuts of timber shaped into square or rounded support pieces/columns. They are typically placed upright to support horizontal structures.

Potting Mix

Potting mix is a prepared soil mix used in garden pots with smaller plants.

Ripped Sandstone

Ripped sandstone is used for retaining walls, bulking material or road base. It can come in various sizes.

River Sand

River sand is a looser, more fragmented sand that is composed of shell particles coral and rocks. It offers bulk and strength in construction.


Roadbase is a durable, solid construction material that is used to prevent road beds from becoming muddy and falling away in wet weather. A range of demolition materials can be combined to make recycled roadbase; materials mainly include concrete, brick and tile.

General Solid Waste


Rubber, along with paper and cardboard makes up a small fraction of C&D waste but it can still be recovered and reused. Rubber products, such as carpet underlay and machinery belts, can be shredded and used to make secondary products like rubber flooring and matting. Ground and granulated rubber also has its uses in alternative products, for example non-slip surfaces, playground areas, car bumpers, splashguards and subsoil drainage.

General Solid Waste

Rubber Tyres

The recycling of tyres is problematic because they are a high volume product, are non-biodegradable and take up large amounts of space in landfills. However, progress is being made in this area of waste management. Shredded tires are being used in landfills for back-fill and to cover landfill sites. Tyres are also being repurposed for use in gardens and parks as swings and exercise equipment. Multiple businesses across Australia collect and process tyres in an efficient and environmentally responsible way.

Special Waste


Sand is a very fine granula material primarily composed of rock and mineral particles. Sand can be used as an aggregate and bulking material in construction. It is also used as a base in landscaping.


Sandstone is a highly versatile sedimentary rock composed of sand-size grains of rocks and minerals. It can be used t create solid structures in construction. It can be cut into tiles, used for flooring, used for counter tops, used on the exterior of homes.


Saran is a thin, clingy plastic wrap primarily used for wrapping food.


Screened sandstone is sandstone that has been crushed/cut down to size or shape for a particular purpose such as for pavers, walls etc.


Shale is a material composed of rock and clay particles. It has a flaky appearance. It is often crushed and heated and used to make cement.

Shatterproof Glass

Much like laminated glass, shatterproof glass is designed not to break apart or form sharp glass shards when impacted. It is created by adding a polyvinyl butyral layer.

Smoke Detectors


Softwood is commonly used for interior flooring. It is soft and light and can be easily drilled or cut into with splitting. Common softwoods include White Cypress, Hoop Pine, Queensland Kauri.


Soil is a naturally occurring material used for road beds, bases, to make brick/cement and in landscaping.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion and is also stain resistant. It is found in roofing, architectural structures, handrails and drainage parts.

Sugar Cane

Sugar cane mulch is made from dried sugar cane leaves. It is an inexpensive mulch.

Synthetic Fibres

Synthetic fibre waste is produced from materials such as fiberglass, polyesters and other plastics but excludes asbestos waste. It should be packaged securely to stop hazardous particle emissions.

General Solid Waste


Tanbark is a particular type of tree bark. It is used as a type of mulch.


Teflon is a coating material used to coat cookware to make them waterproof and non stick.

Tiles & Pavers

Tiles and pavers made from an array of materials such as slate, concrete, terracotta, marble, granite, ceramic, clay, sandstone, porcelain, glass, onyx and cork can be reused, crushed or recycled for use in landscape gardening projects, as decorative aggregate, fill or new paving.

General Solid Waste


A paver is a type of flat stone, usually used for landscaping. A tile can be made from stone, concrete, marble or porcelain. Tiles are usually thinner than pavers and are used more in interior spaces.

Timber Decking

Timber decking are timber boards cut to specific size and shape. These are laid on top of load bearing timbers to form a flat deck surface.

Timber Fencing

Timber fencing is strong, tidy and durable and adds a natural aesthetic to any landscape. Types of timber commonly used to make fencing include ironbark, tallowwood, cypress, grey gum and yellow cedar.

Timber Flooring

Timber boards are usually varnished and sealed and used for interior spaces. Most common softwoods used for timber flooring are pine, fir, cedar, spruce, hemlock and redwood.


Tin is used to coat other products such as steel as it has a high polish finish. It is used to coat steel cans and metal bearings.

Tinted Glass

Tinted glass is often used to provide more privacy or suppress solar heat.

Top Dressing

Top Dressing is a prepared soil mix applied to surface of plant beds/lawns. It is used to assist in regrowth of grass.

Top Soil

Top Soil is a prepared soil mix applied to surface of plant beds. It is used to assist in regrowth of plant beds.

Toughened Glass

Toughened glass offers the highest impact resistance and does not shatter and break apart when broken. Commonly used for pool fencing, balustrades, balconies, skylights, internal partitions, fire-resistant doors, glass stairways and glass floors.

Treated Timber

Treated timber is used for framing and roofing, wall linings, cladding and fencing among other things. Due to the variety of preservatives used in treated timber, the most common being copper chrome arsenate (CCA), it is not easily or readily recyclable. As a result, the amount of treated timber being landfilled is growing. Efforts are being made to reuse treated timber in landscaping as garden edging and fence posts or for decorative effects.

General Solid Waste

Treated Timber

Treated timber contains a toxic chemical mixture that is applied to the timber to help prevent deterioration and preserve quality of the wood.

Turf Underlay

Designed to assist in turf development. It can also be used to stabilise uneven areas.

Untreated Timber

Untreated timber is biodegradable but it's also a valuable resource that can be reclaimed and recycled. Untreated timber (pallets, form boards and cut offs) can be re-milled into flooring, reused in furniture making, processed into animal bedding, chipped or ground to make engineered wood board.

General Solid Waste

Untreated timber

Unlike treated timber, untreated timber does not contain a chemical preservative. It is more prone to deterioration but is also a safer material.


Villaboard lining is a fibre cement sheet primarily used in wet areas/rooms such as the laundry, bathroom, kitchen.

Virgin Excavated Natural Material (VENM)

Virgin excavated natural material (VENM) refers to natural material (such as clay, shale, sand, sandstone and soil) that has been taken from non-contaminated areas (i.e. it is free from chemicals and process residues) and does not contain sulfidic ores or soils. VENM classification relates to more than just the quality of the material, it includes the history of the site and the contamination status. For more information and guidance on classifying excavated material as VENM, visit the EPA website:

General Solid Waste