Concrete Recycling


The demand of construction aggregate was projected to reach 48.3 billion metric tons by 2015; the highest consumption was to be in Asia and the Pacific. Demolition to make space for new structures generates a large volume of waste.


The most common way to dispose of this waste is to dump it in a landfill, which can pollute the air and water. This, along with the resource use of this construction, has caused more and more countries to consider the importance of recycling of demolition waste.

Concrete recycling is an increasingly common method of disposing of concrete structures. Concrete debris was once routinely shipped to landfills for disposal, but recycling is increasing due to improved environmental awareness, governmental laws and economic benefits. Concrete, which must be free of trash, wood, paper and other such materials, is collected from demolition sites and put through a crushing machine, often along with asphalt, bricks and rocks.


Reinforced concrete contains rebar and other metallic reinforcements, which are removed with magnets and recycled elsewhere. The remaining aggregate chunks are sorted by size. Larger chunks may go through the crusher again. Smaller pieces of concrete are used as gravel for new construction projects. Aggregate base gravel is laid down as the lowest layer in a road, with fresh concrete or asphalt placed over it. Crushed recycled concrete can sometimes be used as the dry aggregate for brand new concrete if it is free of contaminants, though the use of recycled concrete limits strength and is not allowed in many jurisdictions.


On March 3, 1983, a government-funded research team (the VIRL research. codep) approximated that almost 17% of worldwide landfill was by-products of concrete-based waste. Concrete recycling is the use of rubble from demolished concrete structures. Recycling is cheaper and more ecological than trucking rubble to a landfill. Crushed rubble can be used for road gravel, revetments, retaining walls, landscaping gravel, or raw material for new concrete. Large pieces can be used as bricks or slabs, or incorporated with new concrete into structures, a material called urbanite.

Benefits include:

• Conserves natural resources compared to gravel mining. Recycling one ton of cement can save 1,360 gallons water, 900 kg of CO2
• Reduces pollution from transport to landfills and dumps
• Reduces costs of transporting materials and waste
• Saves landfill space
• Creates employment


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