Recycling of concrete at work

Recycling of concrete at work and home

Can concrete be recycled? Yes, it can, and it should be. The population is still growing, recycling elements is more important than ever, and so is producing greener concrete. The same goes for concrete, and it should be a responsible thing to do. Most of the time, it’s not because the concrete is too old but because people can’t come up with uses for the building.

Old buildings are constantly demolished, leaving brick and concrete waste that can still be used. Much of it goes to recycling, as over 60% of the secondary concrete waste after crushing can be used to build new roads as the lowest layer of the road; the same goes for parking lots, etc.

Also, high-quality concrete has been made from scrap aggregates that are free of contaminants, so it should also be used for buildings. Some studies have shown that it could be more energy efficient as it needs more cement and water again. Still, most recycled aggregates should have been mixed with virgin ones to eliminate that.

Reusing concrete waste can also lower construction costs as it doesn’t have to be transported to landfills, and recycling concrete eliminates the disposal cost. What happens to the old concrete when it’s time to be reused?

First, the concrete must be removed from the building with big machines like an excavator. Then, it’s crushed with a concrete crusher to optimal sizes near the construction site to minimize the cost. After that, it can be sorted for its different uses.

Where to recycle concrete

Concrete is quite heavy, so unless it’s a light amount you can put in your car/rent a truck, or reuse in your landscaping, you need other solutions. One is renting a metal bin for concrete, often seen on construction sites. It might be the most affordable solution, depending on how much concrete you need to dispose of.

There is also the option of using companies whose business is concrete removal. It’s good to compare the price as it might vary a lot. Some landscaping companies might accept it for free as they use it for business; delivery should be sorted out.

An efficient way of handling concrete waste depends significantly on the amount. Small amounts could be done cheaply with free access to a truck. Medium to large quantities depend on the deal if a bin or landscaping company is a better option. Social media might also help, as some people are always looking for free stuff (surprisingly, even concrete will do in some cases).

How do you recycle concrete yourself?

Recycling concrete can be heavy, but it’s also relatively easy to do yourself. You need to identify where you can drop it or find a recycling project at your home, like a broken concrete retaining wall.

You can organize the waste by size and use proper transportation methods to make it easier for yourself. The following will be more about these topics.

How do I find concrete recycling near me?

Can concrete be recycled? Yes, it can, and it should be. The population is still growing, recycling elements is more important than ever, and so is producing greener concrete. The same goes for concrete, and it should be a responsible thing to do. Most of the time, it’s not because the concrete is too old but because people can’t come up with uses for the building.

Old buildings are constantly demolished, leaving brick and concrete waste that can still be used. Much of it goes to recycling, as over 60% of the secondary concrete waste after crushing can be used to build new roads as the lowest layer of the road; the same goes for parking lots, etc.

Also, high-quality concrete has been made from scrap aggregates that are free of contaminants, so it should also be used for buildings. Some studies have shown that it could be more energy efficient as it needs more cement and water again. Still, most recycled aggregates should have been mixed with virgin ones to eliminate that.

Reusing concrete waste can also lower construction costs as it doesn’t have to be transported to landfills, and recycling concrete eliminates the disposal cost. What happens to the old concrete when it’s time to be reused?

First, the concrete must be removed from the building with big machines like an excavator. Then, it’s crushed with a concrete crusher to optimal sizes near the construction site to minimize the cost. After that, it can be sorted for its different uses.

Where to recycle concrete

Concrete is quite heavy, so unless it’s a light amount you can put in your car/rent a truck, or reuse in your landscaping, you need other solutions. One is renting a metal bin for concrete, often seen on construction sites. It might be the most affordable solution, depending on how much concrete you need to dispose of.

There is also the option of using companies whose business is concrete removal. It’s good to compare the price as it might vary a lot. Some landscaping companies might accept it for free as they use it for business; delivery should be sorted out.

An efficient way of handling concrete waste depends significantly on the amount. Small amounts could be done cheaply with free access to a truck. Medium to large quantities depend on the deal if a bin or landscaping company is a better option. Social media might also help, as some people are always looking for free stuff (surprisingly, even concrete will do in some cases).

How do you recycle concrete yourself?

Recycling concrete can be heavy, but it’s also relatively easy to do yourself. You need to identify where you can drop it or find a recycling project at your home, like a broken concrete retaining wall.

You can organize the waste by size and use proper transportation methods to make it easier for yourself. The following will be more about these topics.

How do I find concrete recycling near me?

My go-to method is a good old internet search. There’s no need to search phone books anymore, and it’s easy to see the nearest concrete recycling center. Some might even have information about how they deal with their substantial waste, as landfills are reportedly choking on concrete worldwide.

Illegal dumping is also one kind of problem. As a worker/hobbyist, I want my waste to go into recycling and not become a problem for nature/animals/humans, like in some developing countries where concrete disposal isn’t done correctly. They might dump it all on nature.

Concrete waste

How do I organize my concrete waste?

We have been using concrete recycling bins for years at work. It’s cheap to get rid of it as clean rubble. Extra wet concrete and mortar can be left in wooden boxes with fabric that lets water through. When you go the concrete or mortar there to harden/cure or wash your tools upon it, it allows the extra water through it. The box mustn’t be waterproof, so the excess water will go to the ground.

It’s also important to empty that box after a lifting amount of concrete has cured as it gets heavy fast if used daily like we might do when we render a building facade with mortar. For home projects, it’s unlikely, but it is still possible if we do more significant projects like concrete decks.

Working with movable amounts and sizes is vital as concrete gets heavy quickly. If it has absorbed water on the ground, it’s even more decadent. When moving on a car, truck, or trailer, it’s good to check max carries the weight so that transportation means won’t get broken. Maximum capacity will be met quite fast when loading.

How to handle concrete waste that has great size/weight

One way to handle big pieces is by making them smaller. If you still need to start demolishing, cutting it with a diamond cutter might be wise before removing it with a hammer drill or jackhammer. Consider a contractor if handling these tools feels uncomfortable or is too expensive to invest in.

If the concrete is underground, like fence or deck foundations, it’s good to use leverage to pull them out. First, the surrounding of the foundation is pleasing to dig free so the earth itself won’t resist the concrete.

Then, an iron bar, wooden 2×4 plank, or something else can be placed under the concrete and pull or push the leveraging tool against the ground. The longer the leverage, the easier it will be to lift it.

It’s good to be sure it has enough strength to handle the bending when using leverage. Iron bars might be too short most of the time, and 2×4 planks should be used with the wide part up so it can handle more weight. I’ve seen some use their cars, but even with machines, it’s good to have physics on your back and ensure the lifting force goes up instead of having the rope pull underground structures sideways. That’s not going to work 99% of the time.

Conclusion

My last thought on this subject is managing more significant projects to be manageable and clean. I’ve worked on many renovation projects where cracked concrete has been removed, reinforcements cleaned, and the patches have been filled. I am finally rendering on the surface.

Suppose the waste starts to add up daily, which may take 30 minutes to clean. It’s already 50 hours to clean it all in a hundred days. It’s not so unusual, and usually, 50 hours won’t be enough at that point as it’s harder to clean.

When I started in my teens, many jobs were cleaning the rubble where no one had touched it from the spring to the end of summer. For months, dumpsters full of concrete and mortar had filled the ground and scaffolding; I won’t lie when I say it took weeks to get it clean enough to hand over the project.

My point when I work today is always work so I don’t have to do that again, and no one else has to clean up my mess. That’s why I take that 30 minutes every working day to clean up my mess so I have to work less. It saves time as you don’t have to work with significant amounts of rubble.

A clean working environment also keeps customers happy, seems professional, and is a more comfortable workplace. I always feel my mood go down when I have to work in the middle of garbage, which brings productivity down. At home projects, it’s also better to have your living grounds clean rather than messy, and it helps come up with cleaner-looking projects.