How to use recycled materials and products

Recycled and secondary aggregates as a resource


Recycled aggregates come from reprocessing materials that have previously been used in construction including recycled concrete from construction and demolition waste material. Secondary aggregates are by-products of other industrial processes that have not previously been used in construction.

How to use recycled aggregates in your business

You can use recycled and secondary aggregates (RSA) in many different applications including in:

  • bituminous (asphalt) road construction
  • ground improvements
  • earthworks - cuttings and embankments
  • utilities reinstatement
  • shallow and deep foundations
  • buildings - residential and industrial
  • geosystems - composite systems that work in the ground, such as for retaining walls and landfill applications

Construction materials which use RSA include:

  • concrete - coarse and fine aggregates mixed with cement and water
  • bituminous - coarse aggregate mixed with fine aggregate filler
  • hydraulically bound - aggregates which set and harden when added to a binder material and water
  • unbound materials - materials ranging in size from fine grains to stony material

Advantages of using recycled and secondary aggregates

There are many benefits of using RSA, for your business, the environment and the local community. Business benefits of using RSA include:

  • cost savings over new (virgin) aggregates
  • reducing the costs of transporting aggregates if recovered materials are available locally
  • lowering your costs and shortening the timescales associated with some construction techniques, eg 'crack and seat' in road maintenance

Using locally sourced RSA can also have environmental and social benefits, including:

  • conserving natural resources by reducing (or eliminating altogether) the demand for virgin materials
  • reducing energy consumption, transport emissions and disposal of waste to landfill
  • creating educational opportunities

Quality protocols for recycled and secondary aggregates

The quality protocol for the production of aggregates from inert waste sets out quality standards for when aggregates have been fully recovered, ceased to be a waste and become a product.

Download the end of waste criteria for the production of aggregates from inert waste (PDF, 297K).