“Concrete Recovery” Why is it important?

by Steve Thorpe
(Chemainus, BC, Canada)



As humans our diet for concrete is only surpassed by our diet for water, leading concrete to a staggering production rate of 3 tons annually for each person on the planet. One ton of cement production requires 4.7 million BTU’s of energy creating nearly one ton of greenhouse gas emissions. For instance the cement manufacturing industry in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) currently produces 50% of the industrial CO2 emissions, or 13% of the total CO2 emissions in the (GVRD) area.

As recommended by the National Ready Mix Concrete Association (NRMCA) users usually add 4% to 10% extra on their concrete order as coming up short can be a very costly mistake. When ready mix arrives at the construction site the water has already been added and the “hydration process” has begun, so time is of the essence.

After the pour, during onsite cleanup of concrete equipment is the ideal time to recover fresh leftover concrete. Management of leftover concrete waste eliminates uncontrolled cleanouts protecting the work site of unwanted piles of hardened concrete as well as possible ground water contamination. Our research shows that the labour invested in pouring a block is benefited several times over in the value of the block produced.

Production of segmental blocks makes sense because they can be easily handled and stored onsite until the final landscaping portion of the project. There are very few sites built today, residential or commercial, that don’t use segmental blocks somewhere within the building envelope.

For the next step forward towards Zero Waste and a Circular Economy think of Formablok’s when producing your next onsite waste management plan.

Steve Thorpe

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