Concrete is one of the most widely used construction materials in the world and is found in projects of all shapes and sizes. In fact, it is almost impossible to think of a building that doesn’t use concrete in some way. But can concrete be recycled?
This is a common and important question. Once a building or structure is demolished, people may wonder if there is a way to recycle it, rather than fill a landfill with it.
The short answer is yes, concrete can be recycled. However, it needs to go through a process.
How does concrete recycling work?
Concrete is first crushed. Depending on the planned application — a base layer for roadways, for example — this is a process called rubblization. It is screened to remove dirt. Finally, it is separated into large pieces of concrete and smaller aggregate.
Virtually any type of concrete can be recycled into a version of virgin aggregate and raw materials — concrete pavement, sidewalks, driveways, foundations, cement, concrete from construction and demolition sites, or other concrete structures.
Recycled concrete aggregate can also have its origin in concrete from a demolition, construction waste from a construction site, asphalt pavement, and more.
The concrete is usually crushed with a portable crusher, then put through an impactor. Once we’ve crushed concrete, it will be screened to remove dirt and separated into large and small particles.
Next, the concrete goes through a period of contaminant removal. Steel reinforcement fibers, wood, clay, plastic, or other materials will be removed. This process is completed with different types of separators, including water flotation separators, air, magnets, or simply by hand.
Recycling concrete helps reduce the negative environmental impact of concrete production and waste. And like most recycled materials, it helps reduce the environmental demand on landfills since it requires no disposal of concrete.
Recycled concrete can be reused as an aggregate in new concrete and helps minimize the need to look for other aggregates or materials.
Recycled concrete is used in a variety of places and structures: pavement, home or commercial building foundations, landscaping walls, and much more.
Recycling concrete is worth the time and attention. It helps reduce construction costs and helps the environment.
At Rogue Valley Precast, we are committed to doing our part to reduce our carbon footprint by providing sustainable concrete solutions.
Contact us today to learn more about recycled concrete. Find out how our precast products and team experience can help get you the right product for your construction project.