Recycling Concrete and Asphalt Helps Build Sustainable Communities

Californians have long been committed to recycling. It is second nature to us to recycle paper, plastic, glass, and cans on a daily basis.  Metal, wood, used oil, and household hazardous waste are frequent recyclables, too.

But what happens to the concrete when that building down the street is  torn down? And where do old roads go when you see asphalt pavement being pulled up?

Demolishing infrastructure to repair and replace roads and buildings  generates large quantities of construction wastes. Many California sand  and gravel operators help keep these materials out of landfills by  annually crushing millions of tons of used concrete and asphalt pavement into Construction Aggregates.

In 2010, 3,152,610 tons of concrete and 12,566,348 tons of asphalt were recycled in California, according to data from the U.S. Geological  Survey.

These recycled aggregates are in great demand by contractors, cities,  counties, park districts, and home owners for meeting our infrastructure needs, and for such uses as building new roads, parking lots,  landscaping, drainage around underground pipe, erosion control, base  materials for footings and foundations, and in new concrete and asphalt.

Cost Effective

  • Saves contractors landfill fees and decreases disposal costs
  • Occurs at local recycling operation or at the demolition site
  • Cuts transportation costs due to proximity of recycling facilities
  • Extends diminishing natural aggregate resources

Environmentally Effective

  • Saves dwindling landfill space
  • Reduces the environmental effects of long-haul transportation
  • Conserves petroleum products
  • Reduces energy use

Municipally Effective

  • A key component for helping governments reach recycling objectives;  assists local municipalities and counties meet mandates to reduce waste disposal.
  • Saves local government money and helps taxpayers
  • Offers high quality and performance
  • Creates new business opportunities and jobs
  • Helps meet demand for new infrastructure

Demand for Aggregates Keeps Building

Recycled aggregates originate from de-molished infrastructure.  Yet it  is estimated that if all concrete and asphalt rubble were recycled, it  would be only 5% of what is needed in the construction industry.

80% of asphalt removed from roads is recycled

CalCIMA - Fact Sheet Recycling

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A primary market for aggregates recycled from concrete is high quality road base.

100% of asphalt pavement is recyclable.

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CalCIMA - California Construction and Industrial Materials Association