Strange Things We’ve Seen in the Concrete Recycling Pile

Digging through the pile of concrete waste at Moreton Bay Recycling.

Most people know that you can’t put certain things in the yellow-lid-bin at home. But what about the concrete recycling pile?

When you work in the recycling industry, it’s always interesting to see the unusual trash and treasures that get left behind…

When Bob the Builder Visits…

Bob the Builder intro, with Bob clipping his belt, putting his hard hat on, and walking forwards.

Perhaps this one isn’t so strange, since a lot of our concrete waste comes from construction sites. But we do occasionally find people’s tools, like hammers and spanners.

When we find tools in our concrete recycling pile, we put them out the front in case a customer comes looking for their missing tools. But most of the time, they don’t get collected so we try to donate or find a new home for anything that’s worth saving (it’s all part of the mission!).

Tip: Tools grow legs when you’re not looking, so make sure they’re stored away safely any time you’re not using them.

It’s Not Just a Fishing Thing

Man on a boat with a red shoe attached to a fishing line.

You know how it goes… you cast out your fishing line and you hook what feels like a HUGE one, only to pull up… a boot?! Well, apparently the same thing goes for concrete recycling piles. While we get the waste ready for processing, we do find the occasional work boot and thong. By the time we fish out someone’s shoe, it’s usually been run over a few times and is quite beyond saving, so it goes in the bin.

Tip: Unless your shoes are made of concrete (caked on the bottom doesn’t count), please ensure they don’t end up in the same bin as your concrete waste.

Truck Feeling a Little Light?

A yellow truck doing a stunt and driving on two wheels.

Occasionally, we find heavy metal items and pieces from heavy machinery in the concrete waste pile. Once, a truck driver had forgotten to tie down some machinery pieces and didn’t realise when he tipped off some concrete and accidentally left behind a 1m part which was an attachment for his excavator. Fortunately, he realised later on, so we were able to go find them for him.

Tip: Secure your machine parts and avoid storing equipment attachments with your concrete waste. If you suspect you’re missing something, let us know ASAP as heavy metal items can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to our equipment (and render the parts useless to you).

Not That Kind of Dump

Lisa Simpson tips a container of recycling into a trash can, with people pointing and saying ‘Stop. You can’t mix plastic with paper.’

Like most recycling companies, we do get a bit of general rubbish every now and again. As an overall percentage of waste we receive, it’s fair to say that a very small portion (much less than 1%) is rubbish or unacceptable materials.

For us, rubbish includes any materials that may cause health and safety hazards or contaminate your concrete waste, including asbestos, dirt, plastic, and ceramic tiles. Because we don’t have the facilities to sort waste onsite, we only accept clean concrete waste. When a contaminated load makes it through, 90% of it is still generally recyclable, but this requires our team to manually dig through and clean it up first — which disrupts our processes and makes us cranky 👎

Fortunately, most of our customers are great at sticking to the list of acceptable materials by only dropping off concrete slabs (reinforcement steel is ok), bricks, outdoor pavers, clay tiles, and roof tiles 👍

Tip: Dirty loads won’t make you any friends at MBR, so make sure that anything you bring in is clean and ready to recycle. See our list of acceptable materials here.

Who Knows What We’ll Find Next…

We much prefer to go weeks and months with nothing in the concrete pile but plain old concrete. That way, we can focus on serving our customers, processing our waste efficiently, and creating high quality recycled concrete products for our customers.

That’s why we’re taking steps to help make it easier to see what comes into the yard. In the next month or so, we’ll be mounting cameras that capture loads (and number plates) as trucks come in. This will help us:

  • Automate our load inspection processes
  • Ensure we can follow up with the 0.1% of customers who don’t do the right thing
  • Ensure we can keep our equipment running smoothly
  • Produce top quality, clean recycled concrete products for reuse

Come Visit Moreton Bay Recycling!

The Moreton Bay Recycling site office, with a display showing each of our recycled concrete products.

Got concrete waste that needs a new purpose? Or need gravel, crusher dust, or aggregates for a project? We’d love to help.

Pop in — we’re just 5 minutes off the highway at Narangba. Or call (07) 3293 4949 if you’d like to ask questions about acceptable materials or our products.

– Rory Crundall, Managing Director

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