Wednesday, March 8, 2017
An ode to corrugated iron
So I took a trip to the tip to scavenge some roofing iron yesterday. I’m an unashamed scavenger – re-use everything and anything I can. Look, there’s not a lot of spare cash so I make up for it by repairing things at about twice the cost in parts and four times in labor what buying new would cost… well, sometimes this is true.
This isn’t Africa, and while there are other scavengers, there is still a lot thrown away because the cost and effort of recycling bits is too high, especially in a relatively affluent society like Australia. The tip is divided up: household waste going in one area, green waste to another, building/demolishing and general iron/wood another, so it’s not digging through rotting garbage. Broken glass and sharp iron yes, and I’m sure eventually the nanny state will step in and fuss about it. But at the moment, there is a chance to save a few dollars on materials.
Now Australia is pretty much built on corrugated iron. It is relatively easy to transport, covers a large area, is waterproof, fairly strong and very adaptable and used to be pretty cheap. Termites and bugs don't eat it. It’s hot as hell – and cold as the Norse hell – uninsulated. But it’s a roof, walls… and so much more. Among the things we need is more carport/storage space (boats, nets, pots and the like – can get wet, but you don’t want out in the weather and sun) and a pig pen, and possum proof walling on the orchard (which will have to be netted against birds and fenced against wallaby, and foot wired and electrified against wombats… it’s not all easy growing your own food here, or cheap.
Without the corrugated iron it’d be harder and slower to do it all. But at around $12 a meter by 760 mm – without transport, it can add up pretty quick. And this sort of use isn’t that fussed by a few holes or a spot of rust.
Anyway, I found a few nice off-cuts, and bits and bobs. Not pretty, but functional… rather like me.