Our Recycling Program
Recycling is a topic that is becoming increasingly important in the construction industry today. Reusing materials continues the lifecycle of a product, benefiting the business, saving on energy and emissions, while also minimizing the amount of waste that ends up landfills. Wherever possible we recycle both materials, and energy when creating our products.
We like to think our recycling starts with the mindset of our employees. Small initiatives in our offices around the country often develop into innovative ideas for increasing aggregate, energy and product recycling.
Asphalt is a material typically composed of a mixture of 5% asphalt binder (also known as asphalt cement), and 95% aggregate (stone, sand and gravel). Asphalt pavement retains its usability through endless product applications, by the process of recycling. As roadways and infrastructure degrade, the asphalt layer can be milled off the road, ground up and used again as a fine aggregate, and percentage of the binder in a new application.
The use of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) and Recycled Asphalt Shingles (RAS) is limited only by the specifications of the project engineers, and application. Our companies use RAP and RAS to the highest extent possible to limit the amount of waste product that ends up in landfills, and to limit the amount of binder that must be refined and purchased. According to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, asphalt is one of the most recycled materials in the US, as 99% of asphalt is reused, and we are proud to participate in this process as much as possible.
Concrete is another opportunity for our aggregate and ready mix businesses to recycle; we are able to do this by re-crushing old concrete, and putting returned product to good use. Concrete roads that need to be resurfaced are excavated and the material can then be re-crushed and used as road base material. Concrete returns that are not needed by customers can be processed one of two ways, either through washing the product when the concrete is still wet to continue the use of the aggregate, or to create blocks. These initiatives are an important part of our commitments to reduce waste in our operations and in our communities.
Recycling used oil is another important aspect of our operations and recycling programs. We replace the oil in our mobile fleet on a regular basis to keep our vehicles running in clean, top condition. The used oil often still has BTU value and can be used in multiple ways to continue the lifecycle. In the winter, we use recycled oil to heat our shops, occasionally as a burner fuel in our cement kilns and asphalt operations, and often recycle these products to 3rd party companies who are able to refine and resell the oil.
Recycling Success Stories
Hamm Companies, outside of Lawrence, Kansas operates a state of the art single stream Material Recovery Facility (MRF). This facility allows customers to throw all of their recyclables into a single bin, which is then sorted on site. They began operations in October of 2014, and in 2015 they processed over 16 millions pounds of materials that were kept out of landfills and returned to markets around the world. The MRF prides itself on being incredibly clean, well operated, and an important part of the community in Lawrence KS. They give regular tours of the operations and enjoy working with local students on innovative ideas to reduce waste.
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