Cement Concrete

Civil Engineering Home for Civil Engineers

15 Reasons to Consider Recycling Concrete in Your Next Project

There are so many things to consider when looking at your next project. You will have to think about personnel, timescales, and equipment, but your budget is likely to be at the top of the list. You have plenty of choices here, but one you may not have considered yet is likely to be the one between dumping and recycling concrete.

This is because it is often overlooked as an option, usually unfairly, and it has many benefits that you might not have considered. By understanding those benefits, you put yourself in a prime position to cut your costs, stand a better chance of completing your project on time, and help the environment as well.

Recycling Concrete
Fig: Recycling Concrete

How is concrete recycled?

Before you can understand those benefits, however, you will need a few insights into how concrete is recycled. Essentially, it is the process of reusing old or waste concrete to create new construction resources, but it happens in several stages.

  • First of all, the old or waste concrete is collected. This is typically from demolition sites of buildings but can also come from bridges or roads that are being replaced or improved.
  • Next, the old or waste concrete is moved to the recycling facility. It is more cost and environmentally effective if this is done locally, so the transport needs are decreased.
  • Once at the recycling plant, the old or waste concrete is sorted through to remove any other materials like plastic, wood, glass, or metal. These are likely to be present if they were part of the original construction.
  • After this process is complete, the next stage is to crush any large lumps of concrete to prepare it for processing, which will involve it being crushed into smaller pieces still.
  • The final part of the process is grading, where it is passed through screens to sort it into different sizes to be used for different purposes. The final product is then checked for quality before being sold to build new structures.

Now you are familiar with the processes used to recycle concrete, you can now examine the major benefits of making this choice.

#1 It can be better for the environment

In the modern era, the environment is a major concern, and by recycling concrete, you can help to conserve it. As you will see, this is mainly because it means there will be far less debris dumped, lessening the impact on the local ecosystem. If the concrete is recycled locally, there is less environmental impact due to transportation, cutting down on emissions. When you put all of this together, recycling concrete as part of your project, you will be making less of an overall impact on the environment.

#2 Recycling concrete can also be more cost-effective, bringing the price of your project down

In short, by recycling concrete instead of dumping it, you can save a huge amount of money on buying material, renting dump trucks, paying drivers, and dumping fees. To look a little closer, dumping concrete is proven to not only be damaging to the environment but is also expensive, and this will be compounded even further when you add in the transport costs. By recycling concrete, you are mitigating these costs, and depending on where your project is being constructed, there may even be tax breaks for taking the more environmentally friendly approach. As costs are a key part of any construction project, you can see how recycled concrete would be the preferred choice here.

#3 Recycling concrete means less ends up in landfill sites

As you have just heard, dumping concrete is expensive. When you also add in the fact that landfill sites just about everywhere are filling up fast, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to reduce that. If you recycle concrete instead of dumping it, you will be lessening the impact on these landfill sites and potentially greenhouse gasses. It also reduces the chances of any harmful chemicals leaking into the local ecosystem, so recycling trumps dumping concrete on many counts.

#4 Recycling concrete uses far fewer natural resources

As a quick look at any newspaper or website will tell you, natural resources are being used up at an alarming rate. Continuously extracting raw materials for construction not only makes them far scarcer but also has a massive impact on the areas where those raw materials come from. So, by recycling concrete instead, you are also preserving other natural resources that would be used for the fuel to transport those extracted raw materials and process them into fresh building materials, making it, by far, the better solution.

#5 As well as using fewer resources, recycling concrete uses less energy

As a handy continuation of the point above, the manufacture of those raw materials into building materials takes no small amount of energy. In comparison, the process described above for recycling concrete takes far less energy. This is because of the massive energy expenditure of acquiring those raw materials and the initial processing is removed from the process. As it has already been stated that the well-being of the environment is a very high-profile subject, opting to recycle concrete again seems like the best choice.

#6 Recycled concrete is both durable and strong

One negative point that is unfairly aimed at recycling concrete is that the resultant product is neither as strong nor as durable as other materials. This is, in fact, incorrect, as recycled concrete is just as effective if processed correctly.

#7 You can use recycled concrete anywhere

Once you have put the myth about a lack of durability and strength to rest, you can look at the different uses you can put it to. Whether your construction project happens to involve just a building or if you also have to think about the roads and pathways leading to it, recycled concrete can fulfill this need. This is because it can be used everywhere, from sub-bases to structural beams. With this knowledge, it is an easy step to add recycled concrete to the top of any list of building materials.

Interesting for You: Slump test of concrete

#8 Recycling concrete uses less water

As you are now probably aware, water is a critical part of the production of building materials. As you might expect, it is considerably less for recycling concrete – with the water that is used in the recycling process often treated and reused. With changing climates affecting the weather and the availability of resources like water around the world, conserving water, especially in those regions most affected, is very important.

#9 Recycling concrete creates jobs

The number of construction projects taking place around the world is growing all of the time, and as a consequence, so is the demand for building materials. When you choose to recycle concrete, this creates jobs for skilled people to work within the recycling facilities, as well as those that support and train them in the local social and economic infrastructure. A concrete recycling plant opening up in an area is likely to mean more jobs and a better-paid, better-trained workforce. It can also be the trigger for an improved standard of living for the entire region as the wages spent by those workers filter into the local economy.

#10 Choosing to recycle concrete can mean a reduction in CO2 Emissions

Producing building materials creates plenty of carbon emissions. You already know that creating each ton burns vast amounts of fuel, which in turn creates huge quantities of CO2 emissions. Recycling concrete instead, with fewer resources and fuel used in the process, will mean fewer harmful greenhouse gasses and making a positive contribution towards climate change.

#11 Choosing to recycle concrete will keep landscapes intact

The extraction process used to acquire the raw materials for construction can have a devastating effect on the landscape where those materials are found. If you make the choice to recycle concrete instead, this does not become an issue because no new raw materials are needed. As a result, the landscape remains intact, and all of the flora and fauna that populate that area are left undisturbed and their homes left in one piece.

#12 Opting to recycle concrete locally reduces logistical issues

You have already seen the direct financial benefits of locally recycling concrete in that it is cheaper to transport, and fewer emissions are created as a result. In addition to these, there are also potential logistical benefits. Because of the shorter distances involved, you are likely to experience faster turnaround times when clearing a site, which will mean fewer hold-ups while waiting for this to happen. With wage costs spiraling upwards, this is yet another financial boon, in addition to increasing your chances of finishing the project on time.

#13 By choosing to recycle concrete, you can receive beneficial certification

As recycling concrete is a more environmentally friendly and sustainable choice, choosing to do it on your project can help you get certification from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which is the world’s most widely recognized green building rating system.

This can be very important because, depending on where your project is happening, such certification is looked on very favorably and might even be a condition of any building permissions given. Also, by using this sustainable option successfully, you are promoting their use and increasing the chances of others following suit.

#14 Recycling concrete helps protect you against unexpected problems

While you can’t allow for every possible outcome, using recycled concrete has fewer potential points of failure than dumping concrete. Extreme weather conditions cannot cause landfill sites to become unusable, nor can a sudden hike in fuel costs due to conflict cause sudden price rises that could blow your project budget as there are fewer transportation costs involved with recycling locally.

#15 Recycling concrete provides a handy boost to your reputation

Because of the environmental benefits of recycling concrete and the strong focus on the environment by both traditional and social media, you are likely to have your reputation enhanced. In fact, taking a more eco-centric approach should give you a distinct advantage when putting in bids for future projects. This is because companies can boost their own profile further by aligning with those that have a track record of using eco-friendly practices.

Other benefits of recycling concrete

Along with those major benefits, there are also some additional knock-on benefits that are worthy of note:

  • Increased demand for recycled concrete can lead to the improvement of the processes involved and the quality of the finished product.
  • Not removing and recycling concrete after demolition can impact soil quality in a similar way to dumping it in a landfill.
  • The different grades of recycled concrete mean that they can be used for a greater variety of purposes, whether they be structural or aesthetic.

A few final thoughts

It does not matter if you prioritize the environment or your budget; there are plenty of reasons to consider recycling concrete. By choosing not to dump old or waste concrete, you are saving on paying for disposal costs and also starting a chain of events that can lead to job creation and the preservation of the landscape.

You’ll also Like:

Visited 121 times, 1 visit(s) today

1 thought on “15 Reasons to Consider Recycling Concrete in Your Next Project

  1. Thanks for posting this helpful blog, We can provide Iron Stair Construction Ideas The staircase is an important component of a building, providing access to different iron stairs for the roof and floors of the building.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *