Everything You Need to Know About Concrete Recycling

September 8, 2022

Why is concrete such a popular construction material?

Concrete is an incredibly versatile construction material that is often used to build walls, floors, ceilings, paths and slabs. Whilst there are several benefits to using concrete in your construction job, arguably the most important one is the material’s strength. 

Concrete has excellent durability, meaning that it can withstand different stresses and heavyweight, as well as being resistant to water, fire and rust. This makes it a long-lasting choice that suits a wide range of construction needs. 

Aside from this, as far as construction materials are concerned, it’s also a relatively cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice as it strengthens yearly, and can be recycled once it reaches the end of its lifespan. With the current climate crisis, I think we can all agree that we need to make as much effort as possible to reduce the amount of waste that we produce. 

So, when you find that you need to cut, saw or drill into your concrete, it’s definitely worth looking into getting it recycled. This will continue the concrete’s lifespan and reduce the amount of waste headed to landfill. 

Why does it need to be cut or drilled into?

Whilst we all want to reduce the amount of waste we’re producing, the fact is that sometimes certain construction jobs require cutting, drilling and sawing depending on the needs of the project. At DP Diamond Drilling, we have over 50 years of experience dealing with hard materials for construction jobs both domestic and commercial - so we’ve cut through plenty of concrete during our time in the industry. 

Some of the main projects we’ve completed involve working with concrete walls, floors and suspended slabs to create space for new staircases. This might be because clients want the width or height of a wall or floor reducing, a space for a new chimney flue drilling, or are perhaps looking for a smaller hole suitable for electrical wires or new plumbing pipes. 

When cutting through concrete, it’s important to take care, stay safe and ensure that the job is done properly to ensure that the structural integrity of your building is maintained - so if you’re unsure, don’t hesitate to contact a professional who will be able to do the job. 

Concrete cutting and recycling

How do you cut into concrete?

Whether it’s a saw that’s needed to reduce the width or height of a space, or a drill to create a hole in the material, we always find that it’s best to use diamond-tipped tools. This is because diamonds are the hardest resource available, and can cut through these incredibly tough materials quickly and accurately. 

We have a variety of different tools including track and wire saws, as well as a wide range of different sized drill bits all which have diamond tips to ensure that we can achieve the required hole or cut for the job we’re working on. 

What is concrete recycling, and how do you recycle it?

Concrete recycling involves taking excess concrete that otherwise would’ve been wasted, and using it in another construction job to extend its lifespan. This is much better for the environment than simply disposing of the excess materials, as it reduces the amount of unnecessary waste headed to landfill, and means that less new concrete needs to be produced with each new construction job. 

Concrete is a particularly strong and versatile material, so, rather than disposing of it as waste, this strength and versatility can be used for years to come in different structures. 

If you’ve cut or drilled into concrete as part of your construction project, it’s likely that you’ve got some excess lying around. There are a few ways that you can ensure that this will be recycled, including arranging for debris collection, taking it to your local tip and putting it into the specified containers for concrete, advertising it online and also recycling it yourself by using it in a future job of your own. 

The concrete recycling process

In order to be recycled, concrete must go through two stages of crushing to ensure that any debris is removed - this is because having any excess material mixed in with the concrete can impact the integrity of the structure the recycled concrete is to be used in. Firstly, powerful machines with jaw mechanisms will grind down the concrete into fine granules, before a second crusher is used to separate the concrete by size and make sure that anything else is removed. 

One final clean will then take place to check that no other building materials such as plastic, clay, dirt or asphalt have been left behind that could impact its future usage.  

Benefits of recycling and repurposing concrete

Undoubtedly, the biggest benefit to recycling your concrete is the fact that it will reduce the environmental impact of your project. If you’re looking to complete your construction work in as environmentally friendly a way as possible, then recycling or repurposing your concrete is the right choice for you. 

When left whole and dumped into a landfill, concrete can take around 50 years to degrade - which isn’t ideal at all, especially if you’re getting rid of large amounts. Instead, recycling the concrete properly will extend its lifespan and mean that it continues to be useful for future construction jobs. 

Aside from this, it also saves money - particularly if you’re looking to build something new with the concrete you’re getting rid of. Concrete can be expensive to purchase, and repurposing it will reduce the need to buy more and have it delivered to you. Recycled concrete is also lighter than it is in its virgin form, so this also reduces transportation issues. 

So, what can repurposed concrete be used for?

There are several different uses for recycled concrete. If you’re looking to lay new paving, but you’re working on a budget, recycled concrete is a cost-effective way to achieve this - whether you’re using it to actually lay the paving, or using it as a base for asphalt paving. Aside from this, it can also be used as an aggregate, or even to repair water banks. 

Whether you intend to use your recycled concrete in your own construction job, or simply want to dispose of it in a more eco-friendly manner, taking the time to recycle it properly is the answer. 

We can all do our bit for the planet - and making sure that we aren’t creating unnecessary waste is key.