How Precast Concrete Can Be Reused and Recycled When It’s Time for a Replacement

Repurposed concrete being poured into a precast mold.

Since concrete naturally has a very long life cycle, buildings that are made with it are often abandoned long before their foundations fail. After their demolition, these buildings’ precast concrete can be recycled or reused in various ways, including the following:

Recycled Concrete Aggregate as a Base for New Precast Concrete

The concrete gathered from a demolished building gets collected to become the base for an all-new concrete structure. In these cases, about 5% of the concrete aggregate goes into the mixture, preventing any demolished concrete from making its way into a landfill. Once cured, the mixture of new concrete and recycled concrete aggregate is just as reliable, durable, and strong as a wall made strictly from newly-poured concrete.

Concrete Aggregate Helps Build Roads and Airfields

Often, recycling precast concrete simply means collecting it from a demolition site and grinding it up. Once ground into finer stones, the concrete serves as the base for a new road or pavement. The asphalt, or new layer of concrete, gets poured over the aggregate, which serves to absorb moisture and reduce soil shifting.

Reusing Concrete as Rip Rap

Another option for the reuse of pre-used precast concrete is to use it as a rip rap for commercial, industrial, and municipal sites. Rip rap consists of stones, rocks, and boulders of varying sizes that are mounted on a site to allow for efficient water flow, pest control, or to limit trespassing. The availability of rip rap in a wide range of sizes helps to meet the demands of multiple customers.

Recycled Concrete Forms a Bed for Trenches

If you have ever had to dig a trench on your property to lay a utility line, you have probably seen recycled precast concrete in use. Once pulverized into small stones, the concrete aggregate gets poured into the trench, which workers will then spread evenly to form a level bed for pipes or cables.

Landscapers Use Recycled Concrete as Mulch

Recycled concrete is frequently used on residential and commercial properties as mulch. After pouring and spreading the concrete aggregate over the soil surrounding shrubbery, flowerbeds, or other plant life, the recycled concrete forms a strong barrier against harsh sunlight, and water passes through the gaps between the rocks to ensure the soil and plant roots receive proper moisture.

There are decorative landscaping uses for recycled concrete as well. The material can be poured around privacy walls, for instance, and aggregate concrete also makes for an attractive base for retaining walls.

Reuse Concrete to Reduce Erosion

Reused concrete reduces the force of rainfall, allowing water to pass down to the soil without eroding it. That makes it worthwhile on hills or inclines where soil erosion has become a concern and is why you will often see concrete aggregate near cliffs and ravines.

Build a Durable Structure with Precast Concrete

When you need a foundation or another structure that will last for decades, American Precast Concrete has the components you need. Contact us to discuss your concrete needs, and we’ll help you customize our precast concrete products to suit your next project.