Down But Not Out: Ways To Recycle Waste Concrete From A Demolition Site

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Any building demotion operation creates a large amount of waste, whether you're knocking down a compact house or dynamiting a whole apartment block. However, the rubble, scrap materials and other detritus left over after a demolition is not necessarily destined for environmentally damaging landfill sites, as many recycling services are capable of collecting and reusing these materials.

Concrete in particular can be recycled for a wide variety of uses, and arranging for the concrete from a demolition site to be recycled can dramatically reduce the environmental impact and carbon footprint of a demolition job. Depending on the type and state of your unwanted concrete, it can be recycled in a number of ways:

Recycling undamaged concrete slabs

Concrete slabs that are small enough to be man-portable, such as paving stones and concrete roof tiles, can be reused in a wide variety of ways as long as they are whole and relatively undamaged. However, you don't have to take your concrete slabs to a recycling service for them to find use -- reclaimed concrete slabs are sought after by many for their weathered looks, and can be re-purposed for use in driveways, raised planters and even small retaining walls.

Recycling damaged concrete slabs and concrete rubble

Dealing with smashed concrete rubble is a little more difficult than recycling whole slabs, but this seemingly useless rubble can be put to extensive use by concrete recycling companies. When transported to a proper concrete recycling facility (you can transport it yourself or have the recycling company pick it up from kerbside skips and collection bins), this rubble is crushed into a fine aggregate

This concrete aggregate can be put to a wide variety of uses. In many cases it is used as a base-layer for laying roads, pavements and other municipal construction projects, but larger pieces can also be used to make revetments and other shore defences, or used in gabions to create economical retaining walls. If you have construction jobs upcoming, many concrete recycling services will allow you to reclaim your concrete once it has been processed for a small fee, making this approach a great way to reduce the carbon footprint of multiple building projects.

Recycling poured concrete

The most difficult type of concrete to recycle after a demolition job is generally poured concrete, and poured concrete floors and driveways often survive a full-scale demolition in a relatively undamaged state. While leftover poured concrete can be smashed, excavated and recycled, leaving it in place may be the more economical and environmentally-friendly option if a new building is to be constructed on the demolition site. An aged poured concrete driveway, for example, can be smashed in place to form an instant layer of aggregate for a new driveway.