Can You Recycle Concrete?

Concrete is everywhere. It makes up the driveways and public garages we park our cars in, the floors in most basements, and the sidewalks in front of our houses, schools, and workplaces. Concrete is in so many places of our day-to-day, that we typically don’t even take notice of it. Over time, concrete can become worn, cracked, and settled, causing it to break and appear un-kept. In most cases, the only way to restore concrete slabs has long been to rip out the existing cement, and repour a new mixture in its place.

For a long time, concrete that had been removed from a specific area was often trucked out to landfills and public waste facilities. In more recent years, concrete recycling has become an increasingly popular method in re-using cement rubble.

How does Concrete Recycling Work?

Instead of transferring the remains to a landfill, the collection of concrete from demolition sites is put through a crushing machine at a concrete crushing facility. Most crushing facilities only accept uncontaminated concrete, which means it is free of trash, paper, wood, and other large debris or materials. Rebar and other metals are also accepted in used concrete because they can either be removed with magnets, or melted down for recycling elsewhere. Once the aggregate completes the various stages of the crushing process, particulates are filtered out either by hand or water floatation.

Who Can Recycle Concrete?

Only construction management professionals who have access to a concrete crusher are able to effectively recycle concrete. In most cases, concrete to be recycled is relocated to a crushing facility, but in some other cases, crushing at the construction site actually allows companies to reduce construction costs and pollution, especially during concrete leveling projects. Portable concrete crushers make this possible, as large road-portable plants are able to crush up to 600 tons per hour of both concrete and asphalt rubble. Similar to that found in a crushing quarry, portable crushing systems consist of a rubble crusher, side discharge conveyor, screening plant, and a return conveyor to the crusher for oversized materials that require reprocessing.

In addition to large portable crushers, mini crushers that are self-contained are also available and can process up to 150 tons per hour, while being more flexible in fitting into tighter areas. Because of these concrete crushing options, the trend towards recycling smaller volumes of concrete material on-site is rapidly rowing.

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