5 Ways to Recycle Old Concrete

Earlier this summer, I wrote about different ways we could remove and repurpose some of the concrete around our home. Since then, we spent one full weekend jack-hammering part of our driveway and random paths around the house. The only problem - we now realize that we have way more concrete rubble than we could possible reuse!

Concrete is inherently difficult to dispose of because it’s heavy and a pain to transport. While it’s a good idea to keep any material out of the landfill, concrete’s durability and high embodied energy makes it an especially viable candidate for reuse. In the past, we’ve had good luck with giving the rubble away for free, but after a few days and no interest, I started to research other options! Here’s what I found:

1. Craigslist or Freecycle – It’s rare to make a profit off old concrete, but if people are willing to pick it up for free, it can be a win-win for everyone. Homeowners or small businesses can use the material for paving stones or small garden walls.

2. Landscape Construction Materials Company – Businesses that sell topsoil, gravel and other similar materials often accept old concrete for a small fee. Their facilities are usually equipped to crush concrete and resell it as a base layer for new roadways (which helps reduce the need for gravel mining). One thing to keep in mind, if your concrete contains lead paint or re-bar, check with the company to see what they accept.

3. Landscaping Companies – Sustainably-minded landscapers are always on the hunt for create alternatives for retaining walls and other landscaping elements. Bonus – they often have the trucks and crew to take larger quantities off your hands. (This ended up being the winning solution for us!)

4. Non-Profit or Community Groups – If you have a substantial amount of concrete rubble, consider approaching a non-profit or community group to see if they’d have a use for the product.

5. The Free Sign – If all else fails, put up a “free” sign and cross your fingers.

Any other tips for recycling concrete in your area?

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(Image: Lauren Zerbey)