What Are Recycled Bricks?

E. Reeder

Recycled bricks are blocks of dried clay that previously were used to build something, such as a structure, but have since been reused for another purpose. These bricks may come from old buildings or from sellers who specialize in providing them. They can give an old-fashioned look to a new building or help a new addition to a home blend in with the older portion of the structure. Before the widespread automation of the making of bricks and other materials, bricks often were made by hand and had more distinctive looks than modern bricks, which are more standardized in appearance. Either type of brick, modern or older, can be recycled.

A brick trowel and recycled bricks.
A brick trowel and recycled bricks.

Bricks are a durable resource and, unless they have been broken or damaged, can last for hundreds or thousands of years, as evidenced by the Great Wall of China. Bricks that have been in very cold environments where freezing and thawing is common may break, chip or flake easily. These would not be recommended for use in building structures. Using bricks again instead of throwing them away, especially since they are so durable, is a way to help the environment. When material can be reused instead of added to a landfill, it is environmentally friendly.

One use for recycled bricks is to build new structures or buildings. Entire buildings can be built from recycled bricks. People who want a more old-fashioned look to their residence could use them to build their house or to add a section to their house. These types of bricks also could be used to build structures such as walls, seating areas or storage buildings in people’s yards. To maintain a consistent appearance, it might be desirable to get as many bricks as are needed for a project from one source, such as an old house that is being torn down.

Repurposing for landscaping or other uses is another option with bricks that are recycled. They can, for example, be used in gardens or small areas with trees in yards as a border. People who want to make a garden or tree area with a definite boundary could take several recycled bricks and put them all around the edge of the area. In a case such as this, people could use either whole or broken recycled bricks, although they might want to choose one or the other for consistency. Bricks also can be repurposed as doorstops or used to hold down sheets, tarps and other light, outside objects that might otherwise blow away in the wind.

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