The majority of concrete waste ends up in landfills, mostly because there has not been enough of a push to recycle it. However, in the UK at least, the Green Building Council is pushing for zero landfill when it comes to concrete, insisting that construction must become completely sustainable for the lifetime of the products used to build. This push came after a report was released by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Cement Sustainability Initiative, which was created to give a boost to the recycling of cement.
Each year 900 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste is created, 20 – 80 percent of which is concrete. Yet, Europe is only recycling about 22 percent of that and it is believed that more can be done.
Hopefully with new initiatives less concrete will be wasted and buildings will become more sustainable in order to create a healthier, less wasteful environment for us all.
In the US, most concrete waste used to go to landfills–and still does, in some parts of the country–but there’s a big push now to grind it up on site and either re-use it as base fill under roads and sidewalks or mix it with fresh concrete for a partially recycled product. “Class 2 Base Rock” is commonly available in most soil yards as a base for roads, driveways, and paths, and it’s made from recycled concrete.
When new roads are built, the old road bed is ground up on site and recycled into the new road.
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