Commercial Construction & Contracting Resources

Recycling Concrete Gives Old Material New Life (Asphalt Too!)

Posted by Eric Park on February 8, 2018

Park Enterprise Construction crushed concrete

Editor's Note: This blog was originally posted on February 8th, 2018 and was updated on July 16th, 2018. 

When a building comes down or a concrete surface is torn up, what happens with the remnants? Well, one of two things:

  • It can sit and take up space in a landfill, or
  • It can be reused

Yeah, we like the second option, too.

Concrete and asphalt recycling breathes new life into old material. Crushed concrete from demolition projects may never become part of a beautiful building or a sturdy driving surface again, but it can certainly be put to good use. What luck, you can save burdens on yourself and the environment in the process.

Concrete Recycling: Put Crushed Material Back to Work

You don’t have to reuse it yourself if you don’t have the need. We’ll happily accept crushed concrete for recycling in other construction projects (here are some other materials we recycle, as well).

You (or someone else) can reuse recycled concrete these 3 important ways:

  • Construction aggregate stone
  • Backfill
  • Salvaging steel rebar

Recycling Concrete for Construction Aggregate

Concrete can be crushed down to basically any size of construction aggregate, from muscular rip-rap rocks for retaining walls to smaller foundation stones. Most commonly, crushed concrete is a cheaper equivalent to #304 aggregate, a gauge which ranges from 1.5” down to fine grains that’s best used in foundations for:

The combination of stone and dust is ideal for compaction. As the stone and grains pack together under the weight of a roller and sheer gravity, the mix becomes a stable, yet pliable foundation. Pliability with natural resistance is important for supporting literal tons of weight from vehicles and overhead structures.

Concrete recycling is popular in areas without easy access to a limestone quarry for aggregate stone. We’ve found you can generally save 10%-50% on the total cost if you choose crushed concrete as foundation for a parking lot or other driving surface. If the recycled concrete comes from off-site, you’d still likely save 10%-20%.

Recycling Concrete for Backfill

Let’s say you have a large concrete commercial structure to demolish. It will leave an equally large hole within the perimeter of the foundation. Your contractor can easily bulldoze the crushed concrete remainder into the hole as a safe, sturdy backfill.

If you keep the crushed concrete on your site, it can be used immediately as backfill without any of the costs associated with trucking in new material. Depending on your proximity to a stone quarry, those savings could be substantial.

Recycling Concrete to Salvage Steel Rebar

Concrete structures often contain steel rebar, which also can be salvaged and recycled. This is particularly useful during steel shortages when supply-and-demand causes prices to skyrocket.

Asphalt Recycling: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Asphalt, the most recycled material on the planet, comes from crude oil. It occurs naturally (like at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles). As a man-made element, it is the heaviest byproduct of the oil-refining process. So the price is controlled by the regular ebb and flow of oil prices.

Most new asphalt mixes contain about 25% recycled material. Reclaimed asphalt lowers our dependence on fossil fuels and your carbon footprint.

Choose Recycling to Save Money and the Environment

Concrete and asphalt should get a second chance at life. Recycled concrete could be useful as a solid foundation, a cheap alternative to limestone aggregate, or backfill following a demolition. The contents within, sometimes steel rebar, can also be salvaged and melted down in a recycling process of its own.

The alternative? It sits useless in a landfill, taking up space, and forcing overmining at quarries.

If you’re looking for concrete recycling in Marion, OH or the greater Columbus, OH area, contact us here or call (740) 223-7275.


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Topics: demolition, demolition contractors, foundation stone, construction aggregate, crushed stone