Initiatives in the field

Recycling residual concrete

Branscome, before being acquired by Colas, had tested three different systems for recycling residual concrete using cyclone separators before finally developing one that it patented and commercialized to industrial customers. When cement trucks returned to the ready-mix concrete plant they dumped their unused concrete into the device where the aggregates were separated and then washed for reuse. The wash water was then processed and used for the plant’s various requirements.

Even though Branscome used and sold this system with much success, it took a critical look at its performance and noted that it was costly and that more effective recycling solutions had come along. Since more and more demolition concrete was being recycled it became more cost-effective to use the same technology to recycle residual concrete, i.e. crushing and screening it to produce concrete aggregate.

This is an example of how an eco-friendly technology can evolve when a waste stream reaches a critical mass that enables it to be processed more effectively than an older but lower-volume waste stream. Such a development is consistent with both the financial bottom line and manufacturing efficiency. When a recycling technology reaches maturity it thus becomes a normal part of the production process that combines cost-effectiveness with a professional approach.

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