The concrete recycling process: From disposal to reuse [Infographic]

Cement flowing out of a concrete truck at a construction site, showing the start of the concrete lifecycle.

Wondering how concrete recycling actually works? Or want to see all the moving parts behind our concrete recycling facility, from waste, drop off to processing and pick up? 

Check out the infographic we’ve put together on the concrete recycling process, including key steps, products, and applications…

What is clean concrete?

Clean concrete waste includes any leftover concrete slurry, concrete blocks, or other concrete waste that isn’t contaminated with other materials.

Here at Moreton Bay Recycling, we also accept all reinforced concrete (with steel through it) as clean concrete.

That’s right – it has nothing to do with detergent or soapy water!

How concrete is recycled

Infographic showing the concrete recycling process, from waste materials to processes and reuse.

1. Drop off

The first step in the concrete recycling business is super important – drop off! Tradies, concrete companies, demolishers, and construction companies drop their concrete waste off at a concrete recycling facility like ours. Common types of concrete waste include old concrete slabs, concrete pipes, bricks and blocks, rubble, and unused wet cement from concrete trucks.

Because concrete is a recoverable resource, we’d love to see ALL concrete waste disposed of at a recycling facility, rather than taken to landfill. It’s normally free to drop your concrete with us (as long as we’re not at capacity), so compared to dumping at a council tip, it’s a more cost-effective option, too.

2. Crush and sort

Next, excavators with hammer and pulveriser attachments break up any larger pieces. Metal reinforcements are extracted manually for recycling. Then a 20T digger picks up the clean concrete waste and loads it into the crusher machine. 

The crusher breaks the concrete into smaller pieces, sorting it by size into a range of recycled products:

3. Pick up

Companies that use recycled concrete in their projects visit the facility to pick up a load of product in their trucks. A front loader picks up the order and loads it into the truck(s). Many concrete recycling facilities (like ours) also have their own road trucks, so they can also do deliveries for local customers.

4. Reuse

Back at the worksite, the recycled concrete products are used in a variety of ways:

  • Under slab for water tanks, containers, or temporary offices
  • Decoration
  • Gravel paths and driveways
  • Wall cage fill
  • Retaining wall backfill
  • Drainage cover
  • Rock garden mulch
  • Bases under pathways, roads, and driveways

Using recycled concrete instead of fresh quarry product is a lot cheaper and better for the environment because it avoids landfill, while keeping natural resources in the ground. You can read more about our concrete recycling process and equipment in our previous blog.

Recycling concrete is easy, cost-effective, and sustainable

As the Australian government aims for 80% average recovery rate from all waste streams by 2030, it’s important that businesses and councils all play a part in reducing their landfill and choosing to buy recycled.

And as you can see, the concrete recycling process is pretty straightforward for customers. Turn up with your unwanted concrete and drop it for free, then leave with a load of recycled product (for a very competitive price) ready to use back onsite. You could be in and out in under 10 minutes.

If you’re based near Moreton Bay or North Brisbane, come and see how concrete is recycled firsthand. We’ll be happy to show you around our Narangba facility. And you’re always welcome to leave your concrete waste with us, and/or leave with some recycled product.

Got questions about concrete recycling? Connect with me on LinkedIn – I’d be happy to chat.

– Hilary Dold, General Manager