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What are Recycled Aggregates?

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Recycled aggregates are increasingly being used as an alternative to quarried aggregates.

Recycled Aggregates at MAC Group

What are recycled aggregates?

Recycled aggregates are materials obtained from the reprocessing of construction, demolition, or industrial waste. These aggregates can be derived from various sources like concrete, asphalt, bricks, glass, and more. Through processes like crushing, sorting, and screening, these materials are transformed into usable aggregates for construction purposes.

The types of recycled aggregates can vary based on the source material and the processing methods. They're commonly used as substitutes for natural aggregates in construction projects, including road construction, building foundations, and landscaping. Their use promotes sustainability by reducing the need for extracting and consuming finite natural resources while diverting waste from landfills.

What are the benefits of recycled aggregates?

Recycled aggregates offer several benefits, both environmental and economic. Here are some of them:

  1. Environmental Sustainability: Reduces the demand for extracting and processing natural resources, preserving them for future generations. It also reduces the environmental impact of mining and quarrying activities.

  2. Waste Reduction: Diverts construction and demolition waste from landfills, reducing the volume of waste and mitigating environmental pollution.

  3. Energy and Resource Conservation: Producing recycled aggregates typically requires less energy compared to mining and processing natural aggregates, thereby reducing carbon emissions and conserving resources.

  4. Cost-Effectiveness: Recycled aggregates are often more cost-effective than natural aggregates, offering a lower-cost alternative for construction projects.

  5. Performance: In many cases, properly processed and quality-controlled recycled aggregates can perform comparably to natural aggregates in various construction applications.

  6. Versatility: Recycled aggregates can be used in a wide range of construction projects, including road construction, drainage systems, building foundations, and landscaping, providing versatility in applications.

  7. Regulatory Compliance: Using recycled aggregates aligns with environmental regulations and sustainability initiatives, contributing to compliance with waste management policies.

Overall, the use of recycled aggregates supports a circular economy by reusing materials, reducing waste, and minimizing the environmental impact of construction activities.

How are Recycled Aggregates produced?

Recycled aggregates are produced through a series of steps involving collection, processing, and quality control. Here's an overview of the typical process:

  1. Collection and Sorting: Construction and demolition waste, such as concrete, asphalt, bricks, and glass, is collected from demolition sites or construction projects. This waste is sorted to segregate different materials for processing.

  2. Crushing: The collected waste materials undergo crushing using heavy machinery like crushers or shredders to break them down into smaller pieces. This process reduces the size of the waste materials to produce aggregate-sized particles.

  3. Screening and Separation: After crushing, the materials are passed through screens or sieves to separate them into different sizes based on the required specifications for various applications. This helps ensure that the recycled aggregates meet desired size and quality standards.

  4. Quality Control: Recycled aggregates undergo quality checks to ensure they meet specific standards for strength, size, cleanliness, and suitability for various construction purposes. Quality control measures help guarantee that the recycled aggregates perform comparably to natural aggregates.

  5. Further Processing (if needed): Sometimes, additional processes like washing or removal of contaminants may be necessary to enhance the quality of the recycled aggregates, especially when they are intended for more sensitive applications.

  6. Usage in Construction: Once processed and quality-checked, recycled aggregates are ready for use in construction projects, such as road construction, building foundations, landscaping, and more.

Throughout these steps, it's crucial to follow specific guidelines and standards to produce high-quality recycled aggregates that can effectively substitute natural aggregates in various construction applications while meeting industry requirements.

What Recycled Aggregates are available from MAC Group.

The main recycled aggregates we currently offer are:

Recycled Type 1: Our recycled type 1 graded aggregate is made from brick, concrete and asphalt. Approx 40mm down to dust in size it can be easily compacted and provides a significant cost saving compared to primary aggregate.

Recycled 6F2: Made from crushed brick, concrete and other hardcore, this material is approx. 80mm down to dust, generally used for base layers or as a bulk material.

Road Planings: Road planings are the top surface of a road that has been removed prior to highway resurfacing. They are ideal for tracks, haul roads or temporary car parks.

Recycled Soil: Our recycled topsoil is a cost effective material used for general landscaping projects, ideal for making up levels prior to turfing.

Fill Sand: Our as dug fill sand can be used for trench backfill or as a bedding layer when using membranes. Our Brownhills operation offers a screened fill sand.

If you would like to know more about recycled aggregates get in touch. Our trained sales team can advise suitability for; sub base, drainage and pipe bedding applications, roads and driveways and general bulk, back and trench fill – to make sure you get exactly what you need.

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