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  Nationwide Industrial Concrete Flooring Contractors & Concrete Finishing Specialists

Back Can you recycle concrete?

Good news: concrete can be recycled. Not only does the production of new concrete produce higher levels of CO2, but it also damages the planet in other ways through the use of natural resources.

Recycling this versatile material is better for the environment and can also have other economic benefits.

Why recycle concrete?

Here are the main five reasons to recycle concrete:

Reduce CO2 emissions

Cement is one of the main components of concrete and contributes to approximately 7% of the world’s CO2 emissions. A study carried out by Heriot Watt University has shown that concrete made with recycled material produced approximately 40% less CO2.

Conserving resources

By recycling concrete, we can conserve natural resources such as gravel, sand, and water that are typically used in concrete production. This can help to reduce the environmental impact of concrete production.

Reduction of waste to landfill

Concrete is one of the most widely used materials in construction, so there’s a lot of it around. Recycling concrete can help to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills, which can save space and reduce the environmental impact of waste disposal.

Cost effective & energy saving

Various industries can benefit from recycled concrete as it can be used in a variety of applications such as road bases, landscaping and new construction. Using recycled concrete is cheaper and prevents new aggregate (e.g., sand and gravel) from being dug and transported.

Using recycled concrete can also help the construction industry meet sustainability goals and reduce the environmental impact of construction projects.

How do you recycle concrete?

Recycling concrete involves a process of breaking down, removing and crushing the concrete from demolition sites into reusable materials. Here are the steps typically involved in recycling concrete:

  1. Collection: The first step is to collect the concrete waste from construction sites and demolition sites.

  2. Sorting: The concrete waste is then sorted by size and quality. Larger pieces of concrete are broken down into smaller pieces, and any contaminants, such as wood or metal, are removed.

  3. Crushing: Once the concrete is sorted, it is crushed into smaller pieces using a machine called a crusher. The crusher breaks the concrete down into smaller pieces that can be reused in new construction projects.

  4. Screening: The crushed concrete is then screened to remove any dirt or debris, ensuring that the recycled material is clean and free from contaminants.

  5. Reuse: The final step is to reuse the recycled concrete in new construction projects. Approximately 60% of the concrete can be reused. The recycled material can be used as a base for roads and other construction projects, as well as for landscaping and erosion control.

Is it possible to recycle reinforced concrete?

Yes, it is possible to recycle reinforced concrete.

Reinforced concrete contains steel bars (also known as rebar - “reinforcing bar”) to provide additional strength and support. Recycling reinforced concrete involves the same process as recycling regular concrete, with the added step of separating the rebar from the concrete.

When the rebar is separated, it can often also be recycled.

Uses for recycled concrete

The crushed concrete can be used for a variety of construction processes:

Replacing gravel

The aggregate from recycled concrete can be used to replace the gravel in new concrete, reducing the need to remove and transport more natural resources.

Base material for roads

Crushed concrete can be used as a base material for roads and highways. This helps to reduce the need for new materials and saves natural resources.


The crushed, recycled concrete can be used as a landscaping material, such as for retaining walls, garden beds and walkways.

Erosion control

Crushed concrete can be used for erosion control, to stabilise stream beds or act as a filter layer for drainage systems.

Pipe bedding

Crushed concrete can be used as a bedding material in trenches for pipes, helping to stabilise them and prevent movement.

Sustainable concrete with Nationwide Concreting

At Nationwide Concreting, we’re dedicated to helping companies reach their sustainability targets. To help, we’ve partnered with Primekss who produce eco-friendly PrīmX concrete flooring.

PrīmX produces 70% less CO2 emissions compared to traditional concrete, making it a much greener choice.

Give us a call on 01590 676 585 or fill out our contact form to find out how we could help make your next project more sustainable.

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