Concrete Recycling Benefits the Environment and Bottom-Line

Concrete recycling is typically something a construction business would not think about, however, it turns out there are several different recycling options you can use when disposing of waste concrete from your work sites.

The Cement Sustainability Initiative reports that concrete is the second most consumed material after water, therefore, finding a way to reuse concrete rather than send it off to a landfill provides a number of benefits to the construction industry, and also helps to keep your operating costs down.

Concrete that is collected at a demolition site can be placed into a crushing machine. The concrete must be uncontaminated, which means it shouldn’t have any trash, wood, paper and other materials in it. The concrete chunks are sorted by size. The larger chunks may have to be placed into the crusher a second time. After the concrete has been crushed it is filtered out for other particulates either by hand-picking or water floatation.

The majority of recycled concrete is used as an aggregate, which is course and fine and used as a fill material. When it is cleaned, recycled concrete aggregate is usually comparable to virgin aggregate.

The Cement Sustainability Initiative states that in theU.S.the Federal Highway Administration has promoted the use of recycled cement for the base of new roadways.

What Can Recycled Concrete Be Used For?

According to the Construction Materials Recycling Association (CMRA), there are a variety of ways recycled concrete is currently being used, including:

  • Aggregate base course or the base of a road. This is used as the foundation for a roadway pavement and is the underlying layer that forms a structural foundation for paving.
  • Ready mix concrete. This consists of a mix of cement, sand and water. CMRA said this market is new. The recycled concrete has also been used for new asphalt pavement as a substitute for virgin aggregate. Uses include residential slab and foundation; walk and curb; residential street and alley; commercial slab and foundation; and concrete paving per aggregate approval.
  • Soil stabilization. This is the incorporation of recycled concrete, lime or fly ash into marginal quality subgrade material that is used to enhance the load baring capacity of that subgrade. The process changes the water susceptibility of subgrade, which stabilizes the soil/subgrade.
  • Pipe bedding. Recycled concrete can be used as a stable bed or firm foundation to lay underground utilities. The recycled concrete serves as a replacement of virgin aggregate.
  • Landscape materials. Recycled concrete can also be used in landscape settings. Sized concrete rubble can be used as a landscaping feature; an attractive support that offers different architectural texture and color. It can also be used as boulder/stacked rock walls, underpass abutment structures, erosion structures, water features, retaining walls and more.

Concrete Recycling Benefits

According to CMRA, recycled concrete is lighter per unit of volume, which means less weight per cubic yard, which results in a reduced cost for materials, hauling and your overall project.

In addition to the benefits to your business, recycling concrete also saves landfill space, helps reduce the needs for gravel mining and reduces pollution that is involved in trucking concrete materials to and from worksites.

To learn more on how you can implement concrete recycling into your waste management program, contact National Waste Associates at 888-692-5005 or use our Contact Form.