Millions of tonnes of asphalt and concrete are trucked away from construction sites in Ontario every year. Instead of being cleaned, screened and recycled, the popular building materials are dumped into landfills and stockpiled.
The Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) just released a podcast, Aggregate Reuse and Recycling, highlighting reasons why this is happening.
Despite the many benefits to recycling aggregates, Rob Bradford, executive director of the Toronto and Area Road Builders Association (TARBA), and Kyle Martin, project manager at Fermar Paving said that many engineers are still choosing to use virgin material. TARBA commissioned independent research to examine the aggregate recycling policies and practices and ranked the municipalities based on whether they are leaders or laggards in supporting aggregate recycling.
“It’s easier to go with the virgin aggregate option than to, in their minds, take a chance and use a recycled aggregate,” Bradford said in the podcast.
An independent research study commission by TARBA and released in 2018 showed some municipalities used virtually no recycled aggregate and therefore were throwing away perfectly good renewable resources into the garbage via their landfills.
“We’ve got millions and millions of tonnes of stones going to landfill as garbage, said Bradford. “That doesn’t speak to any nature of environmental commitment by the municipalities, in my opinion.”
According to Martin, recycled aggregate is being used by the ministry of transportation and on some of the biggest stages, but some smaller municipalities have still been reluctant to use the material. That sort of culture probably won’t change until a new approach is adopted that advocates for a more sustainable way of doing things, he says.
“If you had to tell them that they had to find a spot or a home for 100,000 tonnes of recycled asphalt coming off the road they would certainly promote trying to get some of that going back into it as well and that’s what hasn’t happened yet on the contract side.”