How Scaffolding can be Considered Sustainable
Many products we use these days can be considered sustainable. That is, they don’t harm the environment when being made or when being used. Even some products that may take from the environment when being made by either using a lot of water or power, can still be sustainable if their use puts back more than they took out when being manufactured. Scaffolding comes under this heading.
Scaffolding metal gives back what it takes
Scaffolding is made from steel or an aluminium alloy that is strong and lightweight. While both metals take a lot of water and heat – and so power – to make, they give back a great deal in both what they accomplish and how they increase safety. Scaffolding is absolutely essential when it comes to erecting buildings or maintaining plants & gardens. The job simply could not be done without scaffolding to climb up and support the workers, tools and building products.
It is recyclable and reusable
Being metal, scaffolding is also 100% recyclable. When it is taken down from a finished building it can either be reused for another building, or melted down to form more product, or even a different product. Steel is 100% recyclable and has the advantage that there is no downgrading of recycled parts. Steel is steel and so is a strong metal no matter how many times it is recycled.
Scaffolding can often be reused without being melted down since there is always the need for scaffolding and not every building requires unique and specific scaffolding. Some can use generic scaffolding that has been used on other building sites.
It saves timber
Once all scaffolding was made from timber. In fact, it is thought that the pyramids were built using timber scaffolding. This was certainly not environmentally friendly, but in those days such things were not even heard of. There was plenty of timber and no one had any thoughts about it one day becoming scarce. Then around the 1920s, metal rods started to replace the timber and steel scaffolding was born.
It quickly became the more popular option because of its superior strength and lighter weight, especially once aluminium alloys were invented. Nowadays, timber is rarely used as scaffolding, so steel scaffolding has certainly saved a lot of trees from extinction.
Bricklayers scaffolding may still have timber in it, but it is small compared to other types of scaffolding, so not much timber is used. If timber is used in other types of scaffolding, it usually isn’t as much as the steel component.
Scaffolding is one of those things that cannot be done without, no matter what it is made from. The choice of material has to be made for the safety of the people using it and ease and speed of erecting it as much as for any sustainable reasons.