The construction sector is one of the most contaminating in our country. It reportedly uses up to 40% of the raw materials extracted in Spain. Integrating reusage and recycling into this industry would considerably reduce the cost of edification, thus benefiting the companies. In Catalonia, the Generalitat signed this 2020 a new law that imposes the use of a minimum of 5% of recycled aggregates for any new construction projects, whether public or private. Here at Alberich, we hope to protect the environment while helping private companies, always in compliance with the current legal requirements.
Here’s a list of some of the most common construction materials that are completely recyclable.
One of the most important construction materials to recycle is concrete. It is the second most used material in the world, after water. It is estimated that around 25 thousand tons of concrete are made every year.
This material is recycled by a machine that crushes it into smaller pieces at an authorized centre, like Alberich. These pieces are used to make aggregates that are used for making new roads or hard barriers. Naturally, it is also employed as an aggregate for new concretes.
Made with a combination of iron and carbon, steel is a material that has been recycled throughout history, and today more than ever. This is due to the fact that this material does not lose its quality when recycled. It actually consumes 80% less electricity to recycle than it does to produce. It is traditionally found in reinforcement bars for reinforced concrete, nails, wiring and metal parts.
Even though modern buildings use considerably less wood, it is important that when it is used and there are leftovers, it be recycled. Larger pieces can often be reused, while smaller or low-quality pieces are employed as raw material for the manufacturing of wooden panels and MDF sheets.
Another construction material that can be recycled infinitely is plaster, because it maintains its properties throughout the process, just like steel. However, its incorrect handling can result in sulphuric acid emissions, which are highly toxic and contaminating. And this is sanctioned by law with a fine that can go up to €30.000, depending on the scale of the damage done. For proper recycling, it must be taken to an authorized centre, like ours at Alberich, or booked for pick-up by the same centre.
Better known as “Porexpan” in Spain, by the name of the brand that started to commercialize it, expanded polystyrene is a foamy plastic material. It may be a bit more difficult to recycle, but it can be shredded, pressed or even burned in order to reuse it for new plastic products or even some plastic-based paints. Its incorrect disposal is highly contaminating, since porexpan residue is non-biodegradable.
Ferrous and non-ferrous metals
Pretty much all the metallic residue of a construction site can be reused by taking it to an authorized recycling centre. Whether they are ferrous or not, they can be separated, recycled or molten to be reshaped and reused in new ways.
Regarding non-ferrous metals, a special mention goes to copper, which maintains its quality through the recycling process, thus becoming quite valuable.
Do you own a construction company and want to recycle or buy recycled construction materials? Get in touch with us for more info!