How Recycled Concrete Can Support Net Zero

Woman’s hand showing ‘ok’ sign, with a hazy city backdrop.

Not sure what the deal is with net zero and how it impacts your business?

We’ve been doing some research to better understand how recycled concrete fits in with net zero and we found some interesting stats. Have a read to learn more about net zero and how you can have a positive impact by using recycled concrete!

What is Net Zero and How Does it Impact Businesses?

Net zero is the goal to balance the greenhouse gas emissions produced with the amount that’s taken out of the atmosphere. To put it simply:

Greenhouse gases produced – greenhouse gases removed = 0

In Australia, the Federal Government put in place a Long-Term Emissions Reduction Plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. At a more local level, many states, cities, and councils have set their own targets. Moreton Bay Council is undergoing consultation on an Environmental & Sustainability Strategy, but currently has no specific targets.

Because net zero targets are now driving government policy, it will impact legislation, tax, consumers, and businesses.

Concrete and Greenhouse Gas

Steam rising from factories in the distance.

Unfortunately, concrete production is quite problematic when it comes to carbon emissions. An estimated 4 billion tonnes of cement are produced each year, causing an estimated 8% of global emissions.

Because concrete is so durable, versatile, affordable, and readily available, it’s unlikely that we’ll see demand go down, or that it’ll be replaced with other materials. At least, not on a large scale.

But it’s not all bad news when it comes to concrete…

How Recycled Concrete Can Help

Recycled concrete shown in the Moreton Bay Recycling yard.

The best known method of offsetting greenhouse gas emissions is to plant more trees. Because plants store carbon dioxide naturally, planting more of them (especially trees) can help to clean the air.

But to actually reach net zero, we’ll also need to cut back on the activities that produce emissions. Real change can come from businesses and consumers choosing lower-emission alternatives like recycled concrete.

Here’s how our recycled concrete helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

Long-Term Value From Concrete

Since we can’t get around concrete’s carbon emissions and large-scale production around the world, the next best thing we can do is get more value out of concrete once it’s produced.

Despite concrete’s durability, buildings, foundations, pathways, and driveways will eventually need to be demolished and replaced. But concrete’s journey doesn’t have to end there.

Instead, concrete can be recycled and turned into useful materials, like aggregates, crusher dust, and roadbase.

Production That Requires Less Energy

This is where you can see an impact on carbon emissions, as the carbon emissions generated in this process can be lower than the emissions generated from mining and processing quarry products.

While we don’t have numbers on how recycled concrete CO2 production compares with quarry products, we do know that each m3 of concrete that gets reused (instead of pouring a fresh cubic metre) can save over 250kg of CO2 that would have otherwise been produced.

Local Production and Delivery

We accept, process, and sell the waste in one place. And in many cases, we’re located within 10-20km of where the waste was sourced from, and where the recycled product will be used. Less fossil fuels needed to transport the product and waste means fewer carbon emissions.

And, of course, you get other great benefits like increased affordability, less landfill, and less demand on the natural environment.

Every Business Plays a Role in Sustainability!

As a small business, it might be tempting to put sustainability in the ‘too hard’ pile. Especially because (in the grand scheme of things) your choices may not have as big of an impact as the bigger players.

But no matter how big or small your business, your choices can add up to make an impact.

Plus, making sustainable choices can have other benefits for your business, like:

  • Appealing to consumers that want sustainable alternatives
  • Eligibility for grants, rebates, and other incentives (we anticipate more of this in future as the government works towards net zero targets)
  • Finding more cost-effective materials that improve your profits

Build Concrete Recycling into Your Processes Today

Moreton Bay Recycling delivery truck deposits a load of recycled concrete at a rural property.

Want to become more sustainable? Whether you work in demolition/waste, landscaping, plumbing, if you generate concrete waste or use quarry products as part of your work, we can help!

Bring your clean concrete waste to our facility to give it another life. Or find a range of recycled concrete products onsite, from recycled aggregates to crusher dust that you can use as an alternative to drainage rock, gravel, and more.

Give us a call on (07) 3293 4949 or email info@moretonbayrecycling.com.au if you’d like to chat to the team or organise a delivery. Or find us at 171-177 Potassium Street, Narangba — just 5 minutes off the highway in Brisbane’s outer north.

See you soon,

– Rory Crundall, Managing Director

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