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Going Green with Concrete

A hand holding up a card with the recycling symbol cut out, against a bright, bokeh background of green foliage, symbolizing environmental awareness and the importance of recycling for nature conservation.

Many people want to recycle their waste or repurpose old materials. Many things are successfully recycled for reuse by consumers and industry. Other items get repurposed, like old bricks or barn wood. Recycling and reusing in this fashion often is called going green.

When you’re ready to use concrete, you can also go green, but the terminology might be confusing. Green concrete typically refers to newly-poured concrete still in the process of curing. From the environmental perspective, people also talk about “green concrete” when they use environmentally friendly concrete production methods. For this article, the term green concrete refers to this — concrete that takes advantage of environmentally sound production principles.

Recycled Concrete Aggregate

One way to go green with concrete is to use old concrete as an ingredient in fresh concrete. Concrete requires aggregates to provide strength in the mixture. Many providers acquire recycled concrete that was pulverized into smaller pieces. The small chunks of old concrete become aggregate for the new concrete, taking the place of gravel, small rocks, pebbles, or sand that otherwise would be mined from natural resources. Reusing concrete in this fashion also saves valuable landfill space. Some companies take this a step further, supplementing aggregates with other reusable products like post-consumer glass, plastic debris, waste ash and slag from other manufacturing processes.

Studies demonstrate that concrete using recycled materials is just as sturdy and reliable as traditional concrete, but with much less impact on the environment. Also, since less raw materials are mined, using alternative ingredients like this produces less greenhouse gases. Generally, concrete using recycled materials is also less expensive.

Epoxy and Green Concrete

Recycling old concrete also works in concrete repair. Many professionals and do-it-yourself experts use epoxy-based concrete repair materials to address cracks and fissures in driveways and other concrete slabs. Some of these epoxy-based products use fine aggregates to increase their strength. A common aggregate is very fine sand, which can be expensive in large quantities. As an alternative, some companies have introduced recycled concrete into their products. Tests indicate the use of recycled concrete is just as effective as sand, yet more affordable.

Of course, the best way that epoxy and green concrete work together is by protecting it with epoxy coatings. When you use environmentally-friendly materials in your concrete, you certainly want to protect it so that you don’t have to replace it prematurely.

Concrete coatings from West Coast Epoxy help your driveways, patios, foundations, and pathways stay intact for a lifetime. Using additions like color flakes, micas, granules, custom designs, stripes, and gloss finishes, West Coast Epoxy can bring your concrete to its full potential. To find out more, call our office and discuss your concrete project with us. You can also schedule a free onsite consultation with our experts using our online form. Whether you choose to go green with your concrete or not, we’re happy to help you protect your concrete – and we’ll even paint it green!

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