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Environmental Impact of Concrete Production

November 28, 2013

iStock_000009200146SmallConcrete has been the primary construction material in our towns and cities for well over 100 years now, with its roots dating back centuries. It’s synonymous with industry and manufacturing, but despite what you may think concrete production is actually far better for our environment than similar processes for other construction materials. This is reassuring to know, especially at a time when the compromise between green practices and industrial growth is so stretched.

The resources needed to create concrete (mostly sand, water, aggregate and cement) are natural and abundant, and its use helps to sustain other, less plentiful materials, such as wood. Cement, one of the key ingredients of concrete, is usually made from limestone – one of the planet’s most bountiful minerals. This means that the effort needed, and consequently the extraction processes required, are minimal and more environmentally friendly.

The materials that concrete is composed of are generally available together in one multipurpose site, such as a quarry. Excavating quarries to harvest sand, limestone and aggregate materials is not as destructive as it may seem. Once they have been expended, quarries can effectively be recycled, either used for residential/commercial development, filled with water as a lake, or used as a landfill site. With no need to import such naturally occurring materials from other countries, the CO2 emissions caused by transporting large amounts of mineral products overseas are non-existent.

Some parts of the concrete making procedure even recycle waste materials from other industrial processes. For example, fly ash, a by-product of coal use of which millions of tonnes are created each year, is a feature of the majority of concrete types, while slag from blast furnaces used in the production of steel makes another effective aggregate.

The durability and robust nature of concrete means that it requires little to no maintenance over the course of its life, eradicating the need for replacing building materials with other, less sustainable products. Its naturally fire-resistant properties eradicate any need for environmentally damaging fireproof seals and preservatives, and provide buildings and structures with a certain level of sound insulation without necessitating the addition of hazardous materials designed for this purpose. Concrete is even self-recycling, as materials that have become damaged or are no longer usable can be broken up to form aggregate for new concrete.

The use of volumetric concrete mixers also helps to reduce the environmental impact caused by transportation. These efficient vehicles mix all concrete onsite, meaning there is no back-and-forth from the production plant, as well as creating no excess or waste loads.

Here at Roadmaster Concrete Mixers, we excel in providing efficient concrete delivery to customers throughout the Hertfordshire area and beyond, keeping all waste and CO2 emissions on your site to a minimum. We even stock a range of volumetric concrete mixers for sale at highly competitive rates, so don’t hesitate to get in touch today to find out more.