A Closer Look At Recycled Concrete Aggregate

Concrete being crushed

We've thoroughly discussed recycled concrete aggregate in this space previously, but you might not be familiar with the material itself. The Concrete Construction blog published a great article exploring the details of concrete aggregate and why it's become so popular. Here's what you should know about recycled concrete.
  • Historical
The use of recycled concrete aggregate began picking up steam in the 1970s. Broken pieces of concrete salvaged from construction and demolition sites take up lots of room in landfills and many started refusing to accept the concrete. The best option seemed to be to crush the concrete and recycle it as compactible fill. The uses have expanded since those early days and concrete aggregate at times is even used in mixes.
  • Compared to virgin aggregate
While virgin aggregate has certain advantages, for the price it's hard to beat recycled concrete aggregate in most applications. Wood and steel reinforcements are filtered out, but recycled aggregate could contain a number of other materials like brick, asphalt, dirt and other contaminants. All of that contributes to making recycled aggregate more porous than virgin aggregate. This also makes it about 10-percent lighter than virgin aggregate and increases the need for cement and results in a lower overall strength.
  • Advantages of recycled concrete
Perhaps the most notable advantage of using recycled aggregate is the LEED credits it provides. In many cases, recycled concrete can qualify for both recycled credits and local credits. Overall, the carbon footprint of recycled aggregate is smaller than that of virgin aggregate because crushing salvaged concrete is less time and energy consuming than mining for virgin aggregate. Since virgin aggregate supplies are limited, using an alternative helps to keep them from being depleted.Many experiences are being conducted using a percentage of recycled concrete and virgin aggregate, or sometimes entirely recycled concrete, in mixtures to make new concrete. Numerous Departments of Transportation across the country are investigating the use of recycled materials to cut costs on road work and other construction projects. This suggests that the market for recycled concrete aggregate will continue to grow stronger in the coming years.At Demolition Technologies, we take pride in environmental awareness and recycling. We offer on-site concrete crushing and strive to keep our carbon footprint as low as possible. To learn more, contact us.