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Recycled Aggregates: What You Need To Know

Feb 25, 2019 | Recycled Products

With many businesses and consumers becoming more concerned about the environment, there has been increased pressure put on businesses to use materials from more sustainable sources – aggregates are a prime example of this. Recycled aggregates are becoming a popular alternative to conventional ones, approximately 200 million tonnes of aggregates are used in the UK each year, and of this supply around 57 million are sourced from recycled materials. They can be created from surplus construction material that hasn’t been used or created from reprocessing materials previously used.

You may wonder how you can benefit from utilizing recycled materials such as aggregates? With the cost of quarried aggregates rising, and the standard of recycled products improving, recycled aggregates are becoming a favourable and convenient alternative. Previously, leftover aggregate would have been sent to landfill – but reusing it is now regarded as highly beneficial for a number of reasons.

What is a recycled aggregate?

Recycled aggregates are developed from the reprocessing of materials that have been originally used in construction. They include sand, gravel, crushed stone, and asphalt. Essentially, the term refers to materials that have been previously used in construction. A process of reprocessing which consists of crushing and mixing is then required for the aggregates so ensure they meet legal requirements.

Benefits of using recycled aggregates:

Cost effective

Another appealing aspect of recycled aggregates is how much less they’ll cost you – but this doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on quality. They will be the exact same standard as the new products coming out of the quarry. Another point to factor in is that if the recycled aggregates are produced locally, the cost of transport will be reduced.


Recycled aggregates are deemed environmentally friendly and essential for the progression and growth of the construction industry in its pursuit to lower its emissions. They’re extremely versatile in that they can imitate concrete and cement. Gravel mining requires a great deal of resources and is massively harmful to the environment. To dispose of the surplus sand and gravel needed for construction, all vegetation and must be cleared to make room for digging. Because of the recycling of gravel from construction sites, there’s a lesser need for continued mining.

Applications of recycled aggregates

Large pieces of crushed aggregate can be used for many types of general bulk fills, as well as base or fill for drainage structures and road construction. After the removal of contaminants through a selective process of screening and air separation and size reduction, the crushed aggregate can then be used for a variety of purposes such as concrete for pavements, curbing, and bridge foundations.


The simple act of recycling the concrete provides sustainability in that it reduces the amount of landfill, any embedded excess material such as metal can be recycled too. Using this process of recycling the aggregate reduces the need for ‘virgin aggregate’. This in turn detracts from the impact of the aggregate extraction operation.

At Brewster Bros we work to collect as much soil and rubble from locally based construction jobs from Edinburgh, Lothians, Falkirk, Glasgow and the central belt of Scotland to turn it into recycled aggregate for reuse. In doing so, we become more sustainable ensuring zero waste to landfill and make it easier for you to do the jobs you need to get done within your budget. Get in touch today to speak to one of our friendly team.