Concrete

Overview: Concrete is one of the most widely used building materials with a global consumption rate approaching 25 gigatonnes per year. The key economic drivers for concrete product manufacturing in Australia include demand from residential building construction, demand from heavy industry and other non-building construction, demand from commercial building construction, actual capital expenditure on mining, capital expenditure by the public sector and demand from road and bridge construction. The residential and commercial building markets represent the principal source of demand for concrete products. The prime building contractors or project developers, including individual homeowners or property developers, generally fund the procurement of concrete products for building projects.

Concrete makes up the greatest proportion of masonry material recycled in Australia, at around 60% of all masonry material recycled. The latest data for concrete waste recovery indicated that Australia recycled 6,007,156 tonnes of concrete waste, of which 71% was generated in the construction industry. There are good markets for recycled concrete aggregate for use as road base, aggregates and hardstand areas. 

 

Supply chain (circular economy): we developed a model based on ciricular economy that is called LoWMoR model. The concrete LoWMoR model presents a few opportunities through which concrete waste can be efficiently managed. The following figure depicts these opportunities and the relationships between them.

    

   Concrete LoWMoR model for reducing concrete waste disposal.

Relevant industry associations 

Major manufacturers 

Recommendations to reduce concrete waste disposal 

  • Recognise that recycled aggregate, when produced to conform to the standard specification criteria, is a technically viable alternative that can be utilised in non-structural and structural concrete elements;

  • Conduct a life cycle analysis to quantify potential saving from increased durability;

  • Introduce RCA through pre-cast panels as a quality that can be closely monitored;

  • Change the industry attitudes towards sustainability-conscious material choices, as inertia  towards traditional practices in construction is prevalent;

  • Improve separation on site to sort concrete waste material from other C&D waste; and

  • Utilise advanced density separation techniques to grade crushed concrete fines to increase homogeneity and reduce the presence of foreign inclusions.

 Applicable policies and guidelines 

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