The 411 on Recycled Concrete: Uses, Benefits, and How To

January 22, 2016

Old and unwanted concrete can be an eyesore and inhibit the process of a project. Many people think they only have two options: work around it or get rid of it. However, trying to work around old concrete is equivalent to putting lipstick on a pig—it won’t look good—and tossing the concrete can waste time and break your budget. So what do you do?

You recycle the concrete.

Recycling concrete consists of breaking, removing, and crushing concrete from an existing location, and then using it to create a new, reusable material. There are many benefits and uses of recycled concrete, and it’s often the best option for concrete removal. Whether you’re in the building industry or are wondering what to do with that old concrete slab in your backyard, the following information provides an overview of recycled concrete uses and benefits.

Recycled Concrete Uses

Old, unneeded concrete can be recycled and used to create recycled aggregate. In most cases, recycled aggregate will be used as a subbase material, but it can also be paired with virgin materials and reused as an aggregate in new concrete.

CA6 recycled PCC and Grade 8 recycled are common aggregates made from recycled concrete. They are commonly used as a base for roads, parking lots, and driveways, as well as backfill material and shoulder stone.

Recycled concrete can also be used to create 2”-4” recycled stone. This product is typically used for site stabilization, bottom layer road base, and backfill.

Besides stone, recycled concrete can also be used to create engineered fill sand. This fine-grained material neutralizes pH levels and is commonly used for environmental fill and remediation projects.

Recycled Concrete Benefits

Recycling concrete offers many benefits to both your budget and the environment. Landfill costs for construction-related debris continue to rise, and the cost of transporting the debris from one area to another is an additional expense. Instead of spending money on transport and disposal, recycling creates considerable savings.

In addition to rising costs, landfills are also becoming more heavily regulated, which means that many contractors and homeowners are finding it difficult to dispose of certain materials, including concrete. By recycling concrete, you no longer need to worry about the landfill regulations and instead can dispose of your materials in a reusable way.

Recycling concrete is also extremely beneficial for the environment. Concrete waste takes up a significant portion of landfills, and many cannot accommodate its size and volume. Recycling keeps these materials out of the landfill and allows them to be reused in other applications. Recycling also saves energy that would otherwise be used to mine, process, or transport new aggregates, which is also beneficial to the environment.

Using a recycled aggregate also offers its own set of benefits. For instance, CA6 recycled is 15% lighter than virgin CA6, which means that you get 15% more volume per ton with your order. This can be extremely beneficial when determining how much material you need for an upcoming project.

How to Recycle Concrete

Determining exactly how to recycle concrete will depend on the type and size of your concrete. This is typically done by a building materials company that will either transport the material to a plant for recycling or perform the process on site using a mobile crushing operation. To determine the best option for your project, contact a materials specialist for more information.

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