Thinking About Recycled Concrete for your Next Project?
Do you ever wonder what happens to the plenty of leftover concrete after the demolition of a building?
In the past, the larger quantities of leftover building materials would end up in a landfill, which make it a non-biodegradable material. But concrete doesn’t follow this path any longer. In recent years, professionals have figured out that old concrete can be repurposed to give a new infrastructure, thanks to the idea of “Concrete Recycling.”
How Concrete Is Recycled?
Concrete from demolished sites are taken to concrete recycling facilities. Concrete is placed into a crushing machine and broken into smaller pieces, which are then sorted. All remaining large chunks are picked out and ground again.
The next step is concrete cleaning to make it uncontaminated. It should not have any wood, paper, rebar or any other material in it. Contaminants are removed using various methods such as hand-picking and water floatation.
Benefits of Using Recycled Concrete
No Tipping Fees
The tipping fee is collected when you sell the leftover material after a building demolition to a disposal center that charges based on weight or volume. By choosing to recycle this material at a landfill or a wastewater treatment facility, you will avoid additional incurring tipping fees.
No Costly Freight
Transporting high-quality aggregates means paying huge to a freight company to get the material at your place. Most of the time, recycled aggregate options are located nearby.
Cheaper and Durable Material
Recycled concrete is much cheaper than freshly-mined aggregates. But it does not mean you will get low quality. Concrete recycle facilities follow a fully-established process to make sure that the final material is durable and of excellent quality. So you will get the best material at a reduced cost while not having to forfeit on quality.
Recycling and reusing are always good for the environment and so is concrete recycling. It reduces the amount or landfills and offers numerous benefits to our environment.
Uses for Recycled Concrete
This durable and inexpensive material can be used in many ways as explained below:
Recycled Concrete Aggregates
When old concrete is broken into gravel-sized pieces, these pieces are called recycled concrete aggregates. These inexpensive aggregates are used, especially for new poured-concrete projects.
Aggregates are a good alternative to gravel as a drainage material in wet areas. Dig a trench in the in the area where water most often pools. Fill it with broken-up concrete surrounding a perforated PV drainage pipe and cover the pipe with more concrete. Don’t forget to check local drainage regulations before undertaking this project.
Raised Garden Beds
Raised garden beds offer numerous benefits to gardeners, including better drainage and warmer soil that allows quick germination in spring. Garden beds, raised 2 to 3 feet above the ground allows people with immobility issues, such as physically handicapped or elderly, to stay engaged in gardening regardless of their physical condition.
Mark the contours of the bed using a string to stake out the desired garden area. Now stack layers of broken concrete while keeping the smooth edges of concrete facing outward for safety purpose. Keep stacking until the bed reaches the desired height.
Paths and Walkways
Broken pieces of demolished walkway and sidewalk can be repurposed to build new walkways and paths around your home and yard. Try to get pieces from a single demolition for a new project. These pieces are comparatively more uniform in thickness and are easier to work with.
Ideally, use separate pieces of recycled concrete for constructing walkways. It will provide sufficient gaps for rainwater to easily filter into the soil, which reduces the potential harmful runoff from your property into storm drains.
Retaining Walls and Terraced Gardens
You can use recycled concrete for building retaining walls and terraced gardens at a reduced cost. Select the area where you want to make the wall, dig and level the space as deep and wide as desired to plan.
To acquire added stability, put a layer of gravel or broken-up concrete at the base of the wall. Now stack all layers of recycled concrete, while filling the dirt between each layer to cover any uneven spot. Once you are finished with stacking, shovel soul into the retaining area for planting.
You can ask your demolishing contractor to salvage some large slabs depending on their cut. You can repurpose these slabs as it is or cut into smaller blocks for use in various applications.
Sub-base Gravel in Road Construction
Before laying new roads, constructors lay down a layer of gravels. You can save the cost by using recycled gravel instead of purchasing new gravel.
Recycled concrete is combined with lime or fly ash into marginal quality subgrade material. This process modifies the water susceptibility of the subgrade which results in stabilization of the soil or subgrade and improves its load-bearing capacity.
Recycled concrete can be used as landscape materials. Use sized concrete rubble as attractive support in landscaping that provides different pleasant color and texture. You can also use it as erosion structures, underpass abutment structures, stacked rock walls, and more.
Concrete Recycle – Protecting the Environment
Concrete is the second most used material in the world, thanks to rapid urbanization. However, urbanization not only comes with an improved, high-tech lifestyle but also brings the moral responsibility of caring the environment.
Recycling concrete is increasingly becoming a popular construction material among civil engineers around the world for decades. Landfills are reaching capacity day-by-day and avoiding placing more material in the land is imperative. Moreover, using recycled concrete evades the use of other material such as the use of sand or gravel, emissions and the cost of hauling are saved.
So recycling concrete lowers the cost of construction and provides an environment-friendly solution for reducing the use of aggregates when mixing cement.