How Does Concrete Recycling Work?

The concept of recycling is nothing new. For decades now, individuals and organizations have encouraged us to find new ways to use existing products to not only extend their shelf life, but to alleviate the burden placed on landfills that are quickly reaching capacity. Did you know that idea extends to the construction world, too? Concrete recycling has gained popularity in recent years, but many companies still have questions as to the ins and outs of the process. The crew at General Chipping is happy to fill you in.

All things considered, recycling concrete is fairly simple. As the Portland Cement Association explains, it requires breaking existing material, removing it and then crushing it until it reaches a specified size. Because the quality of the recycled product depends so heavily upon the concrete from which it came, it is important to remove any objects which might cause contamination. Those include things such as embedded stones, bits of reinforced steel, roofing materials, glass and wood.

Once the product is properly crushed, recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) can be incorporated in a wide range of applications. Those include, among other uses:

  • Base material for new sidewalks, porches or driveways
  • An ingredient in new concrete
  • Bulk fill material

But why would companies want to recycle concrete as opposed to simply hauling it off the jobsite? Aside from the environmental benefits, recycling can actually be a boon to businesses’ bottom lines. As ConcreteNetwork.com notes, companies that recycle concrete, rather than transporting it to the landfill, can save as much as 25 cents per ton of concrete, per mile. The practice also eliminates the need for disposal costs, which can add up to $100 per ton.

The next time you’re clearing up a worksite, take a moment to consider what your company plans to do with the discarded waste. Is there a better use for the material at hand?


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