Recycling concrete from demolition projects can result in considerable savings since it saves the costs of transporting concrete to the landfill (as much as $ .25 per ton/mile), and eliminates the cost of disposal (as high as $100 per ton).
As landfill costs for construction, demolition, and land-clearing debris continue to rise and the landfills become more heavily regulated, it makes economic sense to seek alternative means of disposal of concrete from construction and demolition operations. More disposal sites are opening up and contractors are incorporating recycling into their operations to decrease disposal costs. In terms of the overall environment, recycling concrete greatly saves energy compared to mining, processing and transporting new aggregates. And while not considered environmentally damaging, the large volume of concrete waste generated during demolition makes it difficult for landfills to accommodate.
Several recent advances have made recycling more economical for most types of concrete in recent years. These include:
- Development of equipment for breaking concrete pavements whether they are plain, mesh-and-dowel or continuously reinforced.
- Development of methods to remove steel that minimizes hand labor.
- Use and application of crushing equipment that can accommodate steel reinforcement.
As of yet, there are no restrictions on the types of concrete that can be recycled. Proven successful as well as economical recycling projects have included jointed plain pavement, jointed reinforced pavement, continuously reinforced pavement and even airport pavement over 17 inches thick.
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