Did you know that over 140 million tons of concrete are recycled annually? With incredible pressure on landfills mounting, the rise in recycling concrete continues to grow in the world of this environmentally conscious generation. 

Recycled aggregates are hard inert materials that mostly arise from construction and demolition wastes. Recycled concrete is proving to perform just as well as fresher materials, and various structures are now made up of waste material produced from the demolition of structures. 

What is the process of recycling concrete?

When recycling concrete, heavy-duty machinery is used to crush materials – known as crushing equipment. The concrete will be crushed and impacted, and then any dirt and particles are separated from the useful material. 

Water floatation, hand-picking, air separators, and electromagnetic separators are used in the process to ensure all recycled concrete is free of materials such as metal, clay, wood, dirt, plastic and others. 

What are the benefits of recycling concrete?

There are many benefits to using recycled concrete for everyone involved:

  • Landfills become more and more full every year, which is hardly good for the environment. With less concrete in landfills,  it means that landfill space is a little lighter.
  • Reduction in tipping and freight charges
  • Using recycled material as gravel reduces the requirement for gravel mining
  • Cheaper source of aggregate than newly mined resources
  • More employment opportunities 
  • Recycling one ton of cement could save 1,360 gallons of water

Where recycled concrete works best

Aggregate road base is the biggest application of recycled concrete in road construction. The aggregate base course refers to the centre layer of the roadbed. This type of aggregate application is highly recommended by Departments of Transportation.

Recycled concrete has been used in many landscape settings, including erosion structures, water features, paving stones and more. Recycled concrete can also serve as a firm foundation to lay underground utilities, which is known as ‘pipe bedding’. 

The path to greener concrete

Waste materials from construction and demolition add up to around 40% of the world’s total waste. Concrete waste is an incredibly common form of waste generated by the construction industry and is often hugely disposed of in landfills.  

Recycling this form of waste into recycled aggregates, which includes bonding the concrete together with adhesive paste and substituting it for natural aggregates, could help support environmental efforts in the future. 

The results of a recent five-year study of recycled concrete show that it performs just as well, and in some cases even better than newer concrete. A comparison of recycled and conventional concrete took place within two common applications – a building foundation and a sidewalk, and the results found that the recycled concrete had comparable strength and durability after five years of service.

With high-standard aggregate products becoming less accessible in many places across the UK, along with the increased pressure to limit the amount we leave in landfills,  it is most likely that concrete recycling will become a standard practice in years to come. Founded in 1993, K&B Crushers have over 25 years of experience in the industry offering highly reliable and cost-effective recycling, crushing and screening service to the whole of the UK. Get in touch with us today for more information.