Concrete isn’t just used to build roads, bridges, buildings, and other infrastructure; it’s also used to make everything from flooring to playground equipment. When concrete is demolished during construction, it needs to be crushed into smaller pieces to prevent it from clogging up storm drains or becoming airborne debris. Once the concrete is crushed, it can be recycled into aggregate for asphalt, road base, cement, and other uses.
In addition to being a cost savings measure, recycling concrete provides environmental benefits. Concrete is one of the most commonly produced manmade products, making up about 25% of the world’s total production. In fact, there are enough concrete materials stockpiled around the globe to cover every inch of Earth’s surface three times over.
Recycling concrete reduces the amount of material that ends up in our landfills and helps keep resources like water and energy from being wasted. Most importantly, though, it keeps concrete out of the air and waterways where it could harm aquatic life.
Benefits of Concrete Recycling
Recycling concrete saves landfill space and extends the life of landfilling facilities. It also saves building developers from having to pay for dumping fees. Recycling concrete saves energy and cuts down on transportation costs because concrete can usually be reused near where it was produced. Recycled concrete is an option for building materials that can earn LEED green building certification. Sometimes, new jobs emerge from an existing recycling activity that wouldn’t otherwise exist.
How Concrete Is Recycled
Concrete recycling is one of those things you hear about, but don’t really understand how it works. In fact, there are different ways to recycle concrete depending on what type of project you’re working on. For example, you might use a jaw crusher to break down concrete into pieces, which can then be passed through a vibrating screen to further reduce the size of the material. This allows you to separate out the larger chunks, like bricks and stones, while keeping the smaller pieces, like sand and gravel.
Alternative Uses for Old Concrete
Recycling old concrete is one way to reduce waste and save money. Here are some alternative uses for recycled concrete:
• Aggregate – Used in road construction and landscaping projects.
• Gravel – Used in building sites and parking lots.
• Paving material – Can be used in asphalt shingles and pavers.
• Fill – Used in playgrounds and sports fields.
• Dumpster liner – Used in landfills.
• Mulch – Used around plants, trees and shrubs.
• Fireplace hearth – Used in fireplaces.
• Sidewalk base – Used in sidewalks.