With the population expanding exponentially worldwide, it’s no surprise that buildings and bridges are continuously being torn down and replaced with even larger structures. Construction has become a necessity in order to maintain the quality of life that we are used to and have come to expect. As an unfortunate result, our landfills are overflowing with the debris from demolition sites, highway construction and various other construction projects. On average, one-third of the waste dumped into our community landfills is made up of construction and demolition (C&D) waste, which translates into 136 million tons or 2.8 lb per person of building-related materials per year in the U.S. alone. Some may think this is just a necessary downfall of living in today’s society. However, with the rate of construction and demolition increasing annually, soon the landfills will be just as plentiful as the homes, schools, office buildings and stores we now enjoy in our communities. Luckily, we can recycle a majority of the C&D waste that is currently being dumped, thereby reducing the amount of waste piling up.
Crush and go
Did you know that the only substance people consume more of than concrete is water? This results in 1 ton of concrete being produced for each person on earth every year. These statistics are shocking. Interestingly, 80% of the volume of concrete is aggregate, thereby creating a high need of aggregate for concrete producers. Studies have shown that using recycled concrete aggregate provides an equal or even stronger base course than using natural aggregates as well as an increased paste bond. Therefore, by recycling concrete you’re getting a better product for your construction needs, reducing landfill waste and saving money.
While getting into the recycling business requires the initial setup fees associated with any new business, the return you receive makes the investment well worth the initial costs. When your company decides to recycle, there are many areas where your current costs will be reduced. For example, dumping fees will be eliminated as well as the cost of transporting the materials to the dumping site. In addition, there are even more ways to create a profit by using your own recycling equipment. Let’s say your company bid for a job where you end up doing all the work instead of contracting out the labor . . . the cost to transport the material to the dump site, the dumping fees, as well as paying another company to either crush the material or to buy the aggregate to use in the concrete you need for your construction would be eliminated.
Utilizing a mobile crushing unit, you no longer have to transport your materials off site, plus you can produce the aggregate you need out of the materials you just demolished. If you aren’t in the business of reusing the aggregate, it can be sold to other companies who use it, thus creating a profit. In addition to personal benefits, you are helping the community and environment as well. With reduced transportation and processing energy, less air pollution will be created. Additionally, landfill growth will be greatly reduced, thereby creating nicer communities for our families. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits is that jobs can be completed faster, not only reducing the amount of time one particular area is under construction, but also allowing for your company to complete more jobs and create more profit.
Recycling improves communities worldwide, making our world a better place to live. Asia has employed recycling techniques for centuries to help preserve their limited land space with their constantly increasing population. The United Kingdom currently recycles approximately 45% of the total waste generated annually. Yet the U.S. has been slow to join in the worldwide growth in recycling. Several states have created incentives and proposed legislation to assist in increasing the amount of recycling conducted in the U.S. A key factor in the growth of any new idea is proper education on the benefits one will receive from changing. We have a long way to go before we rise to the levels that will change the way our world operates, but we can at least get started in creating a better world today.