How to make money recycling concrete

Recycling concrete how to guide

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In today's rapidly developing society, concrete is the single most widely used material in the world after water. 4.4 billion tons of the substance are produced every year, and in the construction industry, it is used twice as much as all other materials combined.

As concrete is becoming ever more dominant within the construction world, we put together this post to cover the financial benefits of recycling concrete, how your company can do it, and what processes are involved. Here's what's in this post;

How concrete is recycled

Uses for recycled concrete

Benefits of recycling concrete

Where to start with crushing concrete

How concrete is recycled

Recycling concrete is achieved by breaking it down using crushing equipment such as a jaw crusher. Optionally it can be processed further through an impactor crusher to produce a finer aggregate.

It can also be screened to separate the finer material from the chunkier pieces and wallah; we have concrete aggregate ready to be repurposed as road base, fill, or decorative stone.

If necessary specialised equipment like separators, water flotation systems and magnets are used to remove further present unwanted foreign matter.

Uses for recycled concrete

Recycled concrete aggregates have the same uses as rock or gravel aggregates with the exception of old, low quality concrete. Recycled concrete can be used as a replacement for new aggregate, allowing a contractor to save money by eliminating or reducing the cost of materials on certain jobs.

Crushed concrete is a highly versatile product, with a range of uses for road projects or on construction sites. Applications include; base material placed beneath roads, pavements, embankments and car parking lots.

It has slightly different properties to traditional concrete and actually adds benefit to these surfaces by allowing water to be filtered through much easier reducing slip hazards.

For paving businesses who specialise in the removal/construction of roads and demolition companies, recycling concrete proves to be an excellent opportunity to save, grow and invest.

This is because it is simply not necessary for the concrete in these structures to be discarded as waste, especially when it is possible to reuse it and save money in the process.

Why throw away the old road when it can be crushed down and re-used on site? This also cuts down on fuel, rent, and operator costs associated with hauling waste materials away from sites.

From another perspective: it makes an ideal mulch, stone or gravel replacement ready to be used in gardens, as long as it is effectively cleared of foreign matter.

Benefits of recycling concrete

As mentioned above concrete is everywhere, **and you might be able to save a lot of money (or even make some) by recycling your own old concrete.

The future of concrete re-use for businesses will be driven by two main factors which are disposal locations availability/costs and environmental awareness.

Currently within the United States (depending on the state's requirements) it is a legal obligation for contractors to properly dispose of concrete waste. The cost of renting a 25 yard construction skip is approximately $500USD without permits and taxes.

The other option is that you would transport the concrete yourself, in this situation you can expect to pay at the landfill approximately $53 per ton without including the transportation costs.

We hear a lot of our customers tell us they are paying thousands of dollars a month just to get rid of waste concrete which someone else is crushing and making money from.

Compare this to renting or buying a crusher and recycling the concrete on hand, and we find a huge cost saving is to be had. For example, we recently spoke to a paving contractor that is dumping 260 tons of concrete a month.

Here's a breakdown of his current costs;

  • 80 man hours x $20 =  $1,600
  • Dump trailer rental = $250
  • Trailer insurance = $100
  • Fuel = $300
  • Dumping costs = $2,000
  • Base material costs = $2,500

Total = $6,750

For this use case we recommended a small, mobile tracked crushing unit which can break down 34 tons of concrete an hour. This is more than enough for the material requirements, and can easily be taken to almost any site with its 10'1" x 4'9" transport footprint.

Here's how the costs work out with this crusher;

  • Monthly crusher finance = $1,400 (starting cost per month, business profitability dependent)
  • Dump trailer rental = $0
  • Machine insurance = $450
  • Fuel = $20 (1/4 gallon per hour crushing)
  • Dumping costs = $0
  • Base material costs = $0

Total = $1,870

This means by crushing his own concrete, this contractor could be saving almost $5,000 per month!

And this is before we even start to talk about the possibility of crushing waste concrete for other people. Once the concrete is crushed, screened and made into a highly usable aggregate, it will have a retail value of $15USD to $55USD per ton (depending on your location and buyer).

Renting a crusher is also an option if you want to test the waters before buying a machine. But beware, as most of our customers that are already renting pay about 3x the amount to rent a similar machine than the monthly payments of purchasing.

In fact, the average contractor we speak to is spending roughly $12k/month to rent a mid sized mobile crusher. Meanwhile, our mobile crusher range can be purchased for between $1,400 - 4,700 per month (plus you actually own the machine).

So really the choice is simple; pay to dispose of your old concrete OR recycle and reuse the product, saving money on material purchasing costs or selling the recycled aggregate and adding an additional revenue stream to your business.

Where to start with crushing concrete

So you think recycling concrete sound like a good option for your business?

Great! Why wouldn't you want to recycle concrete with all the obvious financial benefits! By recycling concrete we can generate a new income stream within a business, reduce its costs and at the same time up-cycle old products that would normally be disposed of.

Firstly, you'll need access to a consistent supply of old concrete to crush. If you run a paving or demolition company, this should be no problem at all as you're likely already breaking pavements or structures every week.

Once you have a consistent flow of material to recycle, it's just a matter of matching up your needs with a crusher that's going to save you money and hopefully make you some too.

That's where Machinery Partner comes in to play. We have a team of highly experienced experts in concrete processing and recycling alongside a huge range of equipment to match every budget and use case.

If you want to get started with recycling concrete, reach out today to speak directly with one of our material experts about your business and material application.

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