Turning discarded construction materials into reusable community treasures

Why let materials go to waste when you can reuse them? In doing so, we can create a sustainable and thriving community for Yarrabilba residents now and into the future.

Renowned for transforming economies to better serve people and nature, Coreo are delivering Queensland’s first ‘ReMaterialise Pilot’ project at Yarrabilba’s Display Village.

Developed in collaboration with Lendlease, the pilot program is working with seven local builders to help minimise the amount of unused building materials that are discarded into skip bins; repurposing them for community use.

How it works:

During the building process, unused construction materials are removed from site, sorted, and weighed at the ReMaterialise Facility located 10 minutes away. Materials are then recirculated via their identified material solution pathway which includes reuse by builders and the local community or recycling.

Materials that are able to be resold or recycled include concrete, brick and tile, steel and aluminium, paint and paint containers, just to name a few.

According to the National Waste Report 2020, the building industry produces 27 million tonnes of waste each year. That’s 44 per cent of all waste generated throughout the country. Of that building waste, 20 million tons end up in landfills every single year.

When these building materials end up in landfills, they can cause all kinds of serious environmental problems. That includes contaminated soil, polluted waterways, impacted wildlife and plants, and even drinking water pollution. These are just some of the reasons why Coreo created the pilot, to ensure unused building waste is recycled and reused.

Since the program launched in July 2022, the project has already diverted over 2200 kg of steel and timber from landfill from just nine building sites. Some of the materials have been used to create things like veggie beds, road base, and plastic plant pots.

Coreo Consultant Jenna Savin said the team has been working with Lendlease at Yarrabilba for the past four years, recognising what a problem and opportunity construction materials are for a community.

“Construction waste is also a valuable resource that is currently just being sent to landfill. This is not only true in Yarrabilba but all throughout QLD and Australia,” she said.

“In 2021, we began having conversations with builders and industry stakeholders about the prospect of valuing construction materials coming from Yarrabilba and we were enthused to learn that many of the builders we spoke with were positive about doing things differently if it meant better outcomes for the community and the environment.” 

“The pilot project is Re-Materialising discarded building materials into everyday products and materials – simply put, keeping ‘wasted’ construction materials out of the landfills and in the community.”

Partnering with their boots-on-the-ground material recirculators, Rowles Site Solutions, Coreo have been able to collect wasted materials from the building sites and pass them onto people and businesses who value them including Dulux, Paintback and the local community groups. An example has been discarded metal roofing which was collected and passed on to the a local man. He then repurposed the roofing to construct vege garden beds to sell onto the community.

“By keeping valuable materials out of landfill and circulating in the economy we hope to create more value for the system. In addition, we hope to provide jobs, employment opportunities, skills and training. Through the program we will be keeping the local ecosystems healthy by removing building waste and pollutants,” said Jenna.

“ReMaterialise at scale looks bigger and better. After reviewing our learnings from the pilot project we will be looking to roll this service out at all Lendlease developments - stay tuned for which developments will be next up.”

Yarrabilba’s Circular Economy

In 2019, Lendlease, alongside Coreo and Ricardo Energy and Environment released the Circular Economy Strategy for Yarrabilba to act as a road map that guides ongoing development of the community.

Based on the strategy, the vision is to continue to integrate social, economic and environmental values to provide a dynamic and empowered community that fosters sharing, access, connection, diversity and control.  

What is a circular economy you ask? A circular economy is made up of three practical principals; design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials at their highest value for as long as possible and regenerate our natural and social systems.


Coreo Consultant Jenna Savin and COO Jaine Morris

A little about Coreo:

Coreo is a family business founded by two sisters. The team has grown into a posse of fiercely intelligent, capable, and diverse leaders.

They prioritise working with people and on projects that will have the greatest impact on the production and consumption of materials; the regeneration of our natural world; and the quality of human connections.

To learn more about Coreo click here