Disposing of concrete isn’t as simple as dumping it by the wayside and hoping it would poof into thin air.
If it can give nightmares to the construction industry, you know you’re dealing with something that requires extra care.
How to Dispose of Concrete
To make waste disposal easier for you, we have rounded up a few essential tips and tricks to dispose of or recycle old concrete.
Break Up the Concrete By Hand
If you want to make the concrete disposal process a tad bit easier, you may want to start breaking it down. This isn’t an easy task and you will need a few specialized tools to help you break the concrete.
You will also need protective gear for your eyes and ears. To avoid scratches on your skin, make sure to wear thick pants and long-sleeved shirts.
In most cases, a simple sledgehammer should be able to make short work of larger pieces of concrete. An easier way to break concrete is to first dig a hole under it and then smash away at it.
This is a great way to collect and manage the tiny pieces of rubble than if the concrete were resting on the surface.
Use a Pickup Truck
Pickup trucks are lifesavers when it comes to hauling massive heavy and bulky materials, and concrete is no exception. Just make sure not to overload the vehicle because you will run the risk of damaging the pickup truck bed.
You won’t be able to fill the entire bed with concrete. Remember, you’re dealing with massive chunks of irregularly shaped concrete – it won’t just conform to the bed’s shape just because you want it to!
An overloaded pickup truck is vulnerable to a lot of damage. You could end up busting the springs, damage the shocks, and even destroy the engine.
Remember not to treat your pickup truck like a semi-trailer and you’ll be fine.
How to Pack Your Cargo Bed Properly
Always load material based on the truck’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Subtract the truck’s curb weight from the GVWR to arrive at the maximum weight your truck can safely carry.
- The trick is to start with the heaviest items first and then moving to the lighter pieces. Make sure to position the pieces as close to the truck’s cab as possible.
- Stack lighter pieces of concrete on top of the heavier ones to conserve as much space as possible. Remember not to stack the concrete pieces too high (don’t aim for the top of the rail height).
- Try distributing the weight of the concrete evenly from left to right.
- It’s a good idea to ask your friends to help you load up the concrete pieces.
- Try getting access to a utility trailer if you’ve got a large amount of concrete waste. It’s easy to get a very good deal these days.
Where to Dump the Load?
- Take the pickup truck to a landfill that accepts C&D (or construction and demolition materials). Do keep in mind that this will cost you depending on how much concrete needs to be loaded.
- Try contacting some gardening or landscaping supply outlets to see if they will accept your concrete junk. Most will usually do since they’re always fishing for supplies and often have the facilities needed to crush large chunks of concrete into tinier pieces.
How Much Does it Cost to Dump Concrete?
If you’re dumping the concrete yourself, expect to pay around $20 per ton at most landfills. However, you should make a mental note to pay around $40 for a pickup load of concrete trash.
This does not include the cost of gas, rental, and the time spent collecting and hauling the concrete. If you want to rent a 10-yard dumpster, you might end up paying anywhere from $300 to $550.
Professional junk removal services often quote bedload pricing structures for building materials like concrete, and this could cost you $240 to $600 for a full bedload.
Removing 1 ton of concrete with a junk removal truck will cost around $250. By comparison, a 10-yard dumpster rental will help you get rid of 10 times as much concrete at an average price of $350.
This makes dumpster rentals an obvious choice if you’ve got lots of junk concrete lying around.
Hire Junk Removal Services
Many junk removal companies are equipped to professionally deal with construction debris such as concrete.
After you reach out to them, they will send out their team to give you a quote after inspecting the total amount of junk you’ve got.
Set up an Ad on Online Forums
As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It isn’t uncommon for people to look for cheap (and even free) building materials on online forums such as Craigslist.
Don’t expect anyone to pay you for this though, consider it a huge burden off your shoulders if someone does decide to accept your junk.
If possible, try incentivizing this by throwing in complementary free transport to incentivize if that’s what it takes to get all the concrete off your hands.
Reach Out to Building Materials Suppliers
It’s a good idea to see if local building materials suppliers are interested in your concrete junk.
Those with larger projects may be equipped with grave hauling dump trucks and cement mixers and should have no problems taking in your old concrete.
After all, they need it more than you do and might not even charge you for it. It’s worth dialing up a few suppliers.
Reach Out to Landscaping Companies
Many landscaping companies have a strong desire to use recycled materials in their projects.
They advertise themselves as a sustainable landscaping company and use recycled materials to build retaining walls, flower beds, and other projects.
Some are willing to come to your location to haul the load.
Reuse the Concrete in Your Projects
You can always use recycled concrete, in chunks or blocks, in future projects that include retaining walls and landscaping. Other potential ideas include:
- Stepping stones, walkways
- Constructing raised garden beds
- Use the concrete as pavers to create a patio or terrace
- Create a rock garden
- Build a driveway
- Set up a water feature such as a fountain or a pond
- If possible, crush it to make aggregate for future construction projects
- Stack it to make a garden bench
Hire a Hauler
Browse through local websites for good deals on haulers. Haulers will take your old concrete if you give them precise details about the amount of concrete that you want to get rid of.
Make sure to arrange the concrete in a neat pile to help them pick up the debris, or else you may have to pay a lot more to have the junk dismantled into smaller pieces.
In most cases, if the business or individual ends up accepting your old concrete for a price, then they are likely doing both you and the environment a favor.
Don’t worry about the stuff getting dumped by the side of the road since the law has gotten reasonably tough around illegal dumping.
Use a “Free Concrete Here” Sign
If nothing else works, simply put your concrete by the side of the road with a ‘free’ sign next to it.
You might just find someone who’s passing by and happens to need a truckload of concrete!
What Happens to the Old Concrete?
The old chunks of concrete are either crushed for use as aggregate or repurposed for various construction projects.
Many companies recycle concrete by crushing it with industrial pulverizers.
Many builders get extra points for being creative with old concrete.
Why Even Recycle the Concrete?
There are many reasons to recycle concrete instead of sending it off to a landfill. For starters, concrete is not biodegradable – it will stay in its condition forever.
This is why it is better to have the concrete recycled or reused instead of dumped into landfills.
For example, the old concrete can be ground up to make new, fresh, and more durable concrete. This could later be used to replace other types of aggregate in the product.
This is a good alternative because gravel and rock must be mined from nearby land.
It costs a lot of water and damages the land in the process, and so should be avoided whenever possible. Plus when you account for the carbon emissions that come from transporting heavy cement, your little project ends up costing a lot to the environment.
By contrast, recycled contrast is lighter, is cheaper to transport, and cheaper to buy.
Speaking of illegal dumping, it’s simply not advisable to dump concrete illegally no matter how tempting the option may seem!
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