How to dispose of concrete and why you should recycle

A dark green skip bin overflowing with waste, sitting against a light grey concrete wall.

How should you dispose of your unwanted concrete? Should you throw it in the bin with everything else, or recycle it?

As a concrete recycling facility, we’re always thrilled when we can help another business improve their waste management practices. But we understand that it can be a bit of a leap to go from taking concrete waste to landfill, to bringing it to a recycling facility like ours.

But concrete recycling is worth the extra effort!

Here are 7 reasons why you should keep your unwanted concrete out of landfill and recycle it instead:

1. Conserve natural resources

When you take your concrete waste to a recycling facility, you help to support and grow the circular economy. That means keeping existing resources in use for as long as possible to ensure we get maximum value from them, and recovering waste to create new products and materials.

When you recycle your old concrete, it gets turned into new products like recycled aggregates and road bases (check out our previous blog to learn more about the concrete recycling process). These offer a great alternative to virgin quarry products. Less demand for quarried virgin material which means we can leave the landscape natural and untouched.

Recycling concrete conserves other natural resources, too. Every tonne of concrete recycled saves 0.02 tonnes of CO2, 1.28 kL water, 97kWh energy, and 1.09 tonnes of waste.

2. Save space in landfill

In 2005, Australia produced over 14 million tonnes of concrete waste. Based on the average 55% recycling rate for construction and demolition waste, 6.3 million tonnes of concrete still ended up in landfill that year.

Fortunately, the rate of recovery is increasing. During the 2018-19 financial year, 1,927,501 tonnes of concrete were recovered in Queensland alone. This reflects an increase of 7.2% recovered from the previous financial year. But we still have work to do.

In 2018, Queensland recycled just 50.9% of construction and demolition waste, with the government setting ambitious waste reduction targets for the next few years:

  • 2025: 75%
  • 2030: 80%
  • 2040: >80%

The only way we’ll achieve the above targets is if every business (big and small) recycles as much construction and demolition waste as possible. Every time you redirect concrete waste to a recycling facility, you help to improve the rate of recovery and get us closer to the waste reduction targets. Plus, you help save space in landfill for products that can’t be recycled.

3. Minimise transport

Crushing equipment at Moreton Bay Recycling crushes concrete waste into recycled product. Piles of rubble and aggregates are visible, along with the equipment.

The further you need to transport materials and waste, the more costly it gets for your business. The cost of your vehicle, your fuel, and your staff’s time can quickly add up. Each time you’re on the road, it also creates more pollution and increases your business’ environmental footprint.

That’s why it’s a good idea to look for a local concrete recycling facility (we’re in Narangba, north of Brisbane) that’s close to your jobs. This will minimise your cost of transporting waste from the site and reduce the associated pollution. Especially if you can drop off waste and pick up recycled product from the same facility in one trip.

4. Be socially responsible

If you work in the construction and demolition industry, it’s inevitable that you’ll produce waste. Constructing or demolishing buildings, paths, and other infrastructure can result in large volumes of leftover and unwanted concrete. But you can still be a socially responsible business by choosing to recycle as much of your waste as possible. Since concrete is one of the most easily recovered construction waste products, it’s the perfect way to start making a difference.

For more info on being a socially responsible business, check out our blog on doing good.

5. Become a supplier or provider of choice

Consumers are increasingly keen to work with sustainable, environmentally-conscious companies. One recent survey found that 87% of Australian shoppers were more likely to purchase ethically or sustainably produced products, and 40% were willing to pay more for it. (Despite this, using our sustainable, recycled concrete products are actually cheaper than virgin material!)

When you make better choices and promote your sustainable practices, you can become a preferred supplier or service provider. Recycling your concrete could even help you work towards achieving a badge or certification. For example, the Green Star rating system by Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) recognises the sustainability impact of a building, fitout, or community.

6. Avoid damage to bins, equipment, and the environment

A yellow, blue, red, and green wheelie bin are lined up along a grey wall.

Putting in some extra effort to dispose of your concrete waste appropriately can help avoid damage to your equipment, bins, and environment.

Leftover concrete mix from a pump or concrete mixer could cause damage if it’s dumped straight into a plastic bin. Heavy, reinforced concrete can also lead to damage if it’s not loaded carefully. By dropping your waste at a purpose-built concrete recycling facility, you minimise the risk of damage (and leave room in your bin for everything else!).

Our facility accepts large volumes of unwanted concrete – whether it’s demolition waste or excess concrete mix from a job. We even have a pump washout facility onsite so you can clean out your pump or chutes on your Agi without damaging the environment.

Alternatively, if you book a skip bin, make sure you choose a supplier that does the right thing and recycles the waste. You may need to book one skip for concrete, bricks, pavers, and roof tiles, and another one for mixed waste. Your skip bin supplier will provide a steel bin that’s suitable for concrete waste. Some companies will also supply various bins so that you can separate your waste onsite, if you have suitable space and access. Other companies process their bins and separate the materials when they’re back in their own yards.

7. Save money

Sustaining the environment is important, but you also need to consider the long-term sustainability of your business. Fortunately, recycling your concrete often comes with financial benefits, too.

Recycling your concrete with a facility like ours is often cheaper than taking it to a landfill dump. And it means you enable businesses like ours to produce affordable recycled products (like compactable materials or CBR products) that you can buy back for future projects at a lower price than quarry products.

Read more in our blog that compares recycled concrete aggregate prices with quarry aggregates or check out our case study on how one local landscaping company delivers better value for money with our recycled products.

Start disposing of your concrete the right way

When you recycle your concrete, you can save money, become more sustainable, and support the circular economy. So, if you produce concrete waste, it’s time to check your processes and make sure that all recoverable concrete materials end up in the right place: at a recycling facility like ours!

You’re always welcome to pop by our Narangba recycling facility for a visit. Or if you have any questions about how to dispose of your concrete waste with us, please give us a call on (07) 3293 4949.

See you soon,

– Hilary Dold, General Manager

P.S. Want to learn more? Check out our previous blog on how to dispose of your concrete waste or see our quick reference guide for products, services, and pricing.

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