Cawarden Blog

  • Reclaimed vs Recycled: What's the Difference and Which Is Better?


    A lot of words get thrown around these days to talk about old materials being used again; reclaimed, recycled, vintage, repurposed - is there really a difference, and if so, what? Cawarden are here to clear up some of the confusion between the terms, and to discuss the benefits of using reclaimed vs recycled materials in comparison to each other.


    What’s the difference?

    Here’s a glossary for the most commonly used terms to let you know what the terms used actually mean for the materials you’re considering:



    The process for something being classified as ‘recycled’ is as follows: an item, such as a plastic bottle, is identified as ‘waste’ meaning it won't be used for its original purpose again. At this point, it is processed to take it back to a previous point in its ‘cycle’, i.e. it is processed back to the moldable plastic that it was before it became a ‘plastic bottle’, and that plastic is then used to create something new - even if that be a new plastic bottle. The core principle is that something is reverted to a prior state of its cycle,to then be used as a material to make a new item.


    If something is reclaimed, it means it has not been altered since its final ‘state’. If you have recycled wood, a wooden item will have been processed into wood mulch and then reconstructed. Reclaimed wood, however, is not altered. It may be used for a different purpose - a table top may become a sliding door - but the actual material is not processed or changed in any way before being ‘reclaimed’ into a new purpose. Interestingly, this means that what we know as ‘recycled’ water is actually reclaimed water; water is not altered and therefore cannot revert. However, the term ‘recycled’ was purposefully chosen as it was a term at the time that had gained popularity - people liked to think of things as recycled, so the wrong term was given.


    Which is better?

    Reclaimed vs Recycled is is largely a case of personal preference, but there are some points to consider for both. Environmentally, either recycled or reclaimed will always be preferential to a newly made item or material. Reclaimed is arguably that little bit better than recycled, as no extra machine power is needed to process the material. That works for items such as wood, but for plastic you really need to recycle it to get much usability. The other thing is that you’re more likely to have a FSC certificate for recycled material, as the process for giving one to reclaimed materials is long and complex, requiring many steps and resources. Realistically, in the fight of reclaimed vs recycled, both are a good decision.


    Whether reclaimed materials or recycled materials are best for you and the project you’re undertaking, be proud of the fact that you’re researching sustainable resources and are reusing the materials that are already available to us. If you require help or guidance for your project, don’t hesitate to contact the expert team at Cawarden on 01889 574066.

  • 4 Amazing Examples of a Home Built from Reclaimed Materials

    More and more people are embracing reclaimed materials into their lives, adding home furnishings that they’ve salvaged or maybe even making their own pieces from what they can find. However, bonus points have to go to the people who have gone that one step further and have a home built from reclaimed materials. Continue reading

  • Interior Painting Tips: How to Avoid Making Common Painting Mistakes

    As tempting as it may be to dive into your glossy tub of paint with your shiny new paint brush, there are a number of things that should be considered to ensure that you avoid making common painting mistakes that could be detrimental to the entire decorating process.

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  • Interior Design Trends of 2017

    Before the turn of the new year, recycling and upcycling were poised to wholly take over the interior design world, with interior designers and fanatics alike praising earthy textures and aesthetics. Reclaimed materials were to remain a favourite interior trend of the public, encapsulating our ever-growing responsibility of utilising greener, more ethically-sourced building and project materials.

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  • The Upcycling Guide to: Spring Cleaning Your Home

    Spring is on its way! As the sun streams through your window, you may begin to notice areas that have been neglected by your duster over the past few months - giving you the perfect opportunity to pull those Marigolds up and get those bin bags out!

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  • Five Essential DIY Tools You’ll Need as a Beginner

    DIY may seem like an overwhelming concept if you’ve never considered making your own reclaimed furniture before; however, with the right tools and mindset, you can get creative and start your very own DIY project from the comfort of your own home.

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  • Unconventional Uses for Reclaimed Wood

    Reclaimed wood is a fantastic material to use in many interior projects; it is durable; hard-wearing; and compliments a vast array of property designs.

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  • Cawarden’s Guide to Lesser-Known Reclaimed Materials

    Here at Cawarden Brick & Tile Company, we believe there are a myriad of reasons as to why reclaimed materials are the perfect building supplies for a variety of construction projects. Reclaimed bricks, roof tiles, and timber are very popular choices with many of our customers, however, there are a variety of other reclaimed materials that would work perfectly with an assortment of interior renovation projects.

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  • The Benefits of Using Reclaimed Roof Tiles

    Reclaimed roof tiles are tiles that have been utilised before in previous construction projects and have since been salvaged for use elsewhere. Their quality is not diminished by their second-hand nature, however, as the composition of the tiles are durable, firm, and have the potential to last hundreds of years.

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  • Three New Uses for Old Furniture - Easy Repurposed Furniture Ideas

    Using reclaimed materials to create unique furniture pieces for your home is an excellent way to ensure that your interior themes are fresh, stylish, and most of all unique to your tastes. Repurposed furniture is a very popular option in current decorating trends, with sites such as personalised media platform Pinterest brimming with ingenious ideas and innovative uses for old furniture pieces. Yet there may be some readers who look upon repurposed furniture ideas with dismay - the instructions too complicated and the incurring cost to expensive to fully realise the project in their own home.

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