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RGS Nordic and DK Beton have been granted almost DKK 5 million from the Danish EPA’s Development and Demonstration Scheme to accelerate their sustainable concrete collaboration. The two companies will develop certified recycled concrete in a large-scale production that is intended to replace 1 million tonnes of virgin raw materials with recycled concrete within the next ten years.
When a concrete building is demolished, the concrete is crushed and recycled as fill in roads. But this is a vastly inadequate use of resources, which could instead be recycled into new concrete for the benefit of the environment, believes RGS Nordic’s sustainability manager, Ebbe Naamansen:
"Every year, 2 million tonnes of concrete is crushed and used as fill under roads. This is concrete that will never enter the resource cycle again. It is a very short-term use of our resources. At RGS Nordic, we want to utilise the concrete better. Therefore, we will launch a new concrete product in collaboration with DK Beton, where concrete from demolitions acts as a secondary resource in new concrete. That way, we can achieve a long-lasting use of the raw materials."
Large-Scale production is the road to success
The ambitious development project requires investments in new plants and the development of new processes. We are joined on the sidelines by the Danish Technological Institute and Dutch firm Theo Pouw, who have experience in developing recycled concrete.
"So far, projects using recycled concrete have been done as exemptions and on a small scale. With this development, we aim to recycle the concrete on an industrial scale, making the green concrete available to the entire industry. That way, we can create a real, sustainable alternative to standard concrete mixed from virgin materials. This requires both investment in machinery and development of new processes to ensure quality and produce concrete," says Ebbe Naamansen.
Reduce consumtion of raw materials and CO2 emissions
Every year, RGS Nordic produces around 400,000 tonnes of crushed pure concrete, which the company receives from a number of facilities around the country. The aim is to use 75% of this as aggregate for new concrete. If our ambitions are realised at national scale, DK Beton would be able to considerably reduce the amount of virgin material used for concrete in the passive and moderate environmental classes. In addition, less transportation of raw materials will result in a reduction in CO2.
"We are really pleased that we have received the support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Development and Demonstration Scheme. This gives us the incentive to proceed with the project. We are sure that there is a market for our concrete. Hopefully, it will not be many years until we see recycled concrete in all types of projects – from small terraced houses to large corporate headquarters," says Ebbe Naamansen.