01 Sep What You Never Knew About Concrete Recycling
Concrete is one of the most commonly used materials in construction. It’s no surprise that plenty of it makes its way into landfills where it tends to sit and take up room rather than biodegrade. Careless concrete disposal is a waste, considering how recyclable it is and how useful the resulting aggregate is. As it turns out, recycled concrete is good for the environment, budgets, and the economy!
Good for the Environment
Concrete isn’t biodegradable once it’s been mixed. It does wear and break down eventually, but that can take well over 50 years. If concrete is dumped in a landfill, it may not be exposed to enough water to weaken it and break it down. That’s if the landfill will even take it. As landfills run out of space they tend to become more heavily regulated and may refuse to accept concrete, leaving those trying to dispose of it wondering what to do.
Recycling concrete is an excellent alternative to dumping it in a landfill. By breaking down extra concrete or concrete that is too worn down to serve its purpose, it can be repurposed and become part of new construction projects. This keeps it out of landfills and reduces the need to acquire new aggregate, which also helps protect the environment!
Good for the Budget
In addition to benefiting the environment, recycled concrete is a budget-friendly, high quality aggregate. Recycled concrete can be used to create 2-4 inch rock aggregate and fill sand. Because it is less expensive to produce than some other aggregates, it costs less to use. You also get more value for your money. Recycled concrete tends to be much lighter than its quarried counterparts, so you get more volume per cubic yard – by as much as 10-15%. Alternatively, for the same volume of aggregate, you pay less to obtain it and, thanks to its lighter weight, you pay less to transport it.
Good for the Economy
Recycling creates jobs. In 2007 the recycling of Construction and Demolition materials created 230,000 jobs, according to the EPA’s 2016 Recycling Economic Information Report. Recycling creates anywhere from 9-30 times more jobs than running landfills and incinerators. The process of recycling can be involved, which also holds true in the case of concrete recycling. People are needed to operate the machinery that crushes the concrete into smaller pieces and to oversee the removal of contaminants and debris. Then there’s the storing and distribution processes as well, which also all generate additional jobs. More jobs means more people employed, and that benefits the economy as a whole.
Recycled concrete has some surprising benefits. From helping reduce environmental impact to boosting the economy by creating jobs, recycled concrete is clearly good for more than just being a quality aggregate at a good price. If you’re using aggregates in your construction project, and you aren’t using recycled concrete, consider whether or not it would be a suitable alternative to what you’re currently using. You may find it’s worth giving a try.