How is Oregon’s Concrete Industry Helping Economic Growth?

Oregon Concrete Industry

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Concrete is one of the most common building materials used in the world. It’s also the most significant source of demolition waste. In Oregon, the concrete industry is booming, helping to sustain the state’s economy and growth. After a building or structure reaches the end of its life, the role of concrete does not end. Instead, Oregon demolition services use specialized equipment to crush and recycle the durable material, yielding a significant return on investment for clients.

Benefits of Concrete Crushing and Recycling

  • Recyclability: Concrete is recyclable. While it can’t be broken down into its constituent components, it can be crushed and reused as an aggregate or an alternative to raw materials when making new cement.
  • Durability: Concrete is strong and great at resisting moisture, heavy traffic, impacts and the elements. When maintained well, the material lasts decades.
  • Reduce greenhouse gases and a project’s carbon footprint: When an Oregon demolition company crushes concrete for reuse on-site or transports it to a local recycling facility for processing, less energy is consumed during the material’s lifecycle. Even the use of low-grade crushed concrete can be the most sustainable solution for an application.
  • Reduced land-use impact: Using crushed concrete instead of virgin materials reduces the generation of landfill and the extraction of natural resources.
  • Reduced dependence on natural resources: Concrete manufacturing involves gravel mining and the use of water, coal, oil and gas. Recycling one tone of material saves up to 1,300 gallons of water and 1,984 pounds of carbon dioxide.
  • Recycled concrete can be better than virgin aggregates: The physical properties of aggregates made of crushed concrete can make it the ideal material for applications such as sub-bases and road bases. Crushed concrete tends to have better compaction properties and requires less cement for sub-bases.
  • Financial savings: It often costs more to send concrete to landfills than it does sort, crush and sell it. Savings can be as much as 60 percent. Oregon demolition clients have the option of selling or reusing the crushed concrete from their sites to help offset project costs.
  • Safety: Oregon demolition contractors sort and screen crushed concrete to remove metal, plastic and other debris that could compromise the material’s integrity. Recycled concrete sold as an aggregate base course in road constructions must be Department of Transportation-approved, further increasing its reliability and safety.
  • Versatility: Crushed recycled concrete is suitable for a number of construction applications, including new construction, renovations and landscaping.

Markets for Crushed Concrete

  • Aggregate base course: The Department of Transportation uses untreated aggregates, or road base, as the structural foundation for roadway pavement.
  • Ready-mix concrete: Some manufacturers use crushed concrete to make ready-mix products, including asphalt cement. Builders commonly use ready-mix concrete for sidewalks, curbs, residential and commercial slabs and foundations, residential streets, flooring, and concrete paving.
  • Pipe bedding: Crushed concrete can serve as a firm foundation, or bed, for laying underground utilities.
  • Stabilize soil: Incorporating recycled concrete into lower quality sub-grade materials can enhance its load bearing capacity because it changes its susceptibility to water.
  • Landscaping materials: Recycled concrete has dozens of applications in landscaping projects because it can be crushed into different sizes. For example, a client may use larger-sized rubble for landscaping features. Recycled aggregate is also good for mulch, retaining walls and rock walls when used with wire gabions, underpass abutment structures, water features, and erosion structures.

How the Concrete Industry Sustains Oregon’s Development

The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Oregon’s population grew by 1.5 percent between 2014 and 2015, which outpaced the national rate and made it the ninth fastest growing U.S. state. As more people move in, cities like Happy Valley, Canby, Hillsboro, Sherwood, Wilsonville, The Dalles and Redmond are experiencing development booms. Oregon’s concrete industry is working overtime to keep up with the pace.

Oregon has one cement plant, 94 ready-mix concrete plants, and 27 additional plants and terminals that supply the state with the concrete-related aggregates and building materials needed to support its sustainable development. Because concrete is produced locally, it helps maintain thousands of Oregon jobs, including those in construction and demolition.

When used for Oregon’s public roads, concrete’s durability minimizes maintenance needs and maximizes its long-term value, which saves taxpayer money. Incidentally, concrete pavement is also the most fuel-efficient option for Oregon drivers because of its rigid, strong surface, saving taxpayers even more.

During the darker months, concrete’s natural reflectivity on streets, sidewalks and walkways reduces the amount of power needed for illumination at night. In the summer, it prevents the urban heat island effect, thereby improving air quality and reducing smog in Oregon’s major cities. When concrete is pervious, it may naturally filter and “treat” rainwater, making runoff healthier for local watersheds.

Demolition sites can have thousands of tons of concrete. Rather than pay for the expense to dump the material in a landfill, it might make more sense for clients to capitalize on the opportunity to reduce project costs, help the planet and earn credits toward green building certifications. As construction opportunities continue to grow at a record pace, the need for concrete and crushed aggregates will increase. Oregon demolition contractors like Elder Demolition support the state’s economy and environment through its asset recovery services. Our concrete crushers, for example, grind concrete into gravel that’s ideal for future construction projects, while strong magnets remove metal that clients can sell. Talk to a specialist at Elder today to learn more about our recycling services.

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