Can You Recycle Concrete?
If you have old or excess concrete, you may be wondering how to get rid of it.
Though your first thought may be to dispose of the concrete, you could recycle it instead. Recycling unneeded concrete is a great way to protect the environment and preserve scarce natural resources.
In this article, we explore how concrete recycling works, whether it can be reused as aggregate, and in which applications recycled concrete can be found.
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Can you recycle concrete waste?
It’s a common misconception that concrete can not be recycled. Concrete waste can be used to manufacture new structural parts without sacrificing its core qualities of strength and resistance.
Concrete recycling is a complex process that requires specialised machines. The concrete is fed through an industrial crusher, which demolishes the concrete into small fragments. These fragments are passed through screens that separate the useful material from the dirt and unusable particles.
The first screen is responsible for separating the materials and the second screen removes the coarse aggregate.
Can you throw away old concrete?
Concrete should not be thrown away anywhere. If you plan on disposing of your excess concrete, you must contact the appropriate authorities to dispose of it for you.
Concrete that is not properly disposed of can spawn various diseases, including dengue and leptospirosis. If dumped in a public place, it can have serious consequences for the general public. Many people have been hospitalised due to dumped concrete.
However, even arranging professional removal isn’t our recommended option. Concrete removed in this manner will ultimately end up in landfill, and while it may not harm people in as direct a way as it would do if it were dumped on the road, concrete in landfill will still contribute to the damage of the environment through pollution and CO2 emissions.
Ideally, we should be aiming to limit the production of new concrete by recycling pre-existing concrete.
Can crushed concrete be used as aggregate?
When the concrete is crushed by the industrial crusher, it can be reused as aggregate in another concrete application. Instead of using natural stones, crushed concrete can be used instead.
This is a great option for preserving aggregates, but it should be noted that using crushed concrete as aggregate usually requires a greater amount of cement, sand and water to be added to the mixture. Therefore it may not always be the overall best option, as it does create a higher demand for other products that would otherwise not be needed.
What can you use recycled concrete for?
In addition to being used as aggregate, recycled concrete can be used in a variety of applications. Around 60% of the crushed concrete can be used for downcycling purposes, that is, for a more limited range of uses than the original concrete.
Though the crushed concrete will retain much of the great strength and durability of the original concrete, it won’t be suitable for every application. But there are still many applications it can be used for including roads, paths and pavements.
Why worry about excess concrete? At Total Concrete, we ensure you get the perfect amount of concrete for your project. You can either use our concrete calculator to get precise measurements, or take advantage of our on-site mixed concrete service, where we will mix your concrete at your site as you need it.
You’ll never get more concrete than you need, which means you’ll never overpay.