Construction and demolition waste contribute a considerable amount of solid waste to U.S. landfills annually. There is estimated to be 200 to 300 million tons of construction and demolition waste, also known as C&D waste, discarded each year in the United States. A way to combat the disposal of C&D waste is to separate the recyclable C&D material from the waste and produce recycled and upcycled aggregates from it. In most cases, sourcing of virgin materials is harmful to the environment, costly, and are limited in adaptation. Transitioning to upcycled and recycled concrete is beneficial for you and the environment.
What is Upcycled Aggregate?
Upcycled aggregates are a high-quality, recycled concrete material crushed into a variety of specified size materials. When upcycled, these aggregates can be crushed into 57 rock, road base, screenings, paver pro, oversized rock, and rip rap that perform on an equal or higher equivalent to virgin materials.
What is Virgin Aggregate?
Virgin aggregates are materials that have been newly mined from the ground. Mined products are granular rocks, sand, gravel, and stone. The process to produce these materials require excavating a large area of land, the use of a variety of heavy machinery, and in many cases are disturbing to current environmental conditions.
When comparing upcycling and recycled aggregates to virgin aggregates, the cost and labor are lower when repurposing aggregates. Upcycled and recycled aggregates not only reduce the cost of purchase and transportation when available locally but upcycled and recycled aggregates reduce landfill tax and provide community and city incentives. Upcycled and recycled materials are also lighter in weight allowing buyers to receive more volume per ton for a more affordable price.
Sustainable development is a goal in many communities. Developers that incorporate the use of upcycled or “green” materials are in favor of gaining permits from city planners, and government funding including tax incentives, loans, and grants.
Upcycled and recycled aggregates reduce C&D waste, limits energy usage, and minimize pollution emissions. Virgin materials create an increase in greenhouse emission and deplete the supply of natural resources from future use. 583 million tons of recycled concrete, asphalt, asphalt shingles, wood, metals, and gypsum are generated each year in the United States. Recycling these materials are the most impactful way to be more environmentally responsible in developing and building while also saving around 4,300 acres in landfills annually. Reclaiming and recycling waste concrete from construction or demolitions sites is a highly efficient way to operate. The energy used in producing upcycled and recycled aggregates is significantly lower than producing virgin materials. Reducing the energy used in production, results in less usage of natural resources emitting fewer greenhouse gases and preserving natural resources for future use.
Upcycling and recycled aggregates allow one material to be used to its fullest production capabilities and produce a variety of aggregates. Aggregates can be used in various industries in a range of functions. Supply and demand work hand in hand to create a circular stream of upcycled aggregates.
Upcycled and recycled aggregates are durable and high performing they are treated equivalent to their non-recyclable counterparts. Upcycled and recycled aggregates are cost-effective, ecological and do not sacrifice the quality of the desired product.
Make the Switch
Most believe virgin materials are more durable and have a higher performance than upcycled materials, but they are treated equivalently, and come with more extensive prices, including but not limited to the material, transportation, and landfill costs. Using virgin materials allows for a limit to usage because they lack adjustability. Upcycled and recycled aggregates are an option that is a lower expense, eco-friendly, and versatile.