What Are Concrete Aggregates?

Text overlay ‘What are concrete aggregates?’ on a background showing a truck next to a pile of recycled crushed concrete.

There’s a first time for everything… 

The first time you rode a bike (woo hoo!), your first solo drive after you passed your driving test (freedom!), and the first time you heard the phrase “concrete aggregate” (what in the world is that?!).

If you’re already a pro in the industry, you can skip this one. Actually, you might be more interested in some of our more advanced topics, like: The Latest Developments in Concrete Recycling or How Recycled Concrete Can Support Net Zero.

But just in case you’re new to the world of recycled building materials and the wonders of concrete aggregate, we’ll cover all the basics right here.

What Exactly Are Concrete Aggregates?Picture of the Moreton Bay Recycling yard showing piles of different sized recycled concrete aggregates.

Concrete aggregates consist of concrete that has been crushed into smaller, gravel-sized pieces. Usually you can get concrete aggregates in a range of sizes, including 5mm-7mm, 10mm, 20mm, 40mm, and 75-100mm.

But to get a bit more specific, let’s define ‘concrete aggregates’ by breaking it down further:

  • Concrete – The most widely used building material worldwide, consisting of a fluid mix of cement, sand, aggregates, and water that quickly hardens and cures over time.
  • Aggregate – Coarse fragments of construction material, which may include crushed stone, gravel, sand, geosynthetics, or recycled concrete (this is the one we’re focusing on here!).

How Are Concrete Aggregates Made?How are concrete aggregates made infographic

So, how do we go from concrete to concrete aggregates? 

Concrete aggregates are nearly always made from recycling old concrete. In our business at Moreton Bay Recycling, businesses and individuals who have concrete waste can drop this off at our facility (or send it our way via Jumbo Skip Bins). This waste often comes from building demolitions, old slabs, pathways, and driveways, as well as leftover product from concrete pumps. 

We use machinery attachments to break up larger pieces of concrete waste into smaller pieces. We also extract any steel to be recycled separately (and keep it out of our crushing equipment!). Then we put the concrete waste pieces into our crusher. 

Our concrete crusher breaks the concrete down into even smaller pieces, before using an agitator to sort it by size, producing the different sized concrete aggregates, as well as the by-product, crusher dust.

Learn more about the concrete recycling process here.

Why Choose Concrete Aggregate Over Quarry Gravels?

In many cases, concrete aggregate can be used in place of quarry gravels like blue metal and sandstone. It’s great for plumbers drainage, pipework drainage, driveways, pathways, retaining wall fill, shakedown material, open drain/swale lining, and even decorative rock. 

The main benefits of choosing concrete aggregates over the quarry rock alternatives are:

  • Cost savings – Depending on the aggregate size and retailer, our crushed concrete aggregate is 50%-80% cheaper than comparable quarry rock alternatives
  • Lighter weight – Because crushed concrete is more porous, it weighs less than rock, which means you don’t need to buy as many tonnes to fill the same space (another way you can save money!)
  • Environmental benefits – Buying recycled concrete aggregates means you help to keep waste out of landfill, natural resources in the ground, and support the circular economy

Learn more in our blogs on The Benefits of Recycled Building Materials, Drainage Concrete: An Affordable Alternative to Gravel, and Concrete and the Circular Economy.

Where Can You Buy Crushed Concrete?

If you’re looking for a local supplier of crushed concrete aggregates, try to find a concrete recycling facility or a landscaping supplies yard that stocks this product. And if you need concrete aggregates and you’re in the Brisbane/Sunshine Coast region, we’d love to help.

Moreton Bay Recycling is an award-winning company that offers a range of recycled concrete aggregates for pick up or delivery. See our range of concrete aggregates here.

So, why not stop by our yard for a look? You can find us at 171-177 Potassium Street, Narangba — just off the Bruce Highway 30 mins north of Brisbane. Or contact our team with any enquiries or to place an order. We look forward to seeing you soon!

P.S. Yep, that’s right… in case you missed our announcement on social media, we’re the 2023 winners of the Environment & Sustainability Excellence Award (two years in a row!)!Hayden, Tabatha, and Rory receive the Environment & Sustainability award on stage at the 2023 Moreton Bay Business and Innovation Awards.Once again, we’re incredibly grateful to the judges for choosing us, to our customers for supporting the work we do, and to our amazing team for helping us carry out such important work in the region. We’ll continue to build on our environmentally friendly and sustainable practices, while helping customers all over Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast do the same.

A huge congratulations to the other worthy finalists for this award, too, as well as all the other award winners and finalists (including our very own Office Manager, Hayden Kadel, who was shortlisted as a finalist for Employee of the Year!).

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