Recovering and using recycled aggregates

Where to use recycled and secondary aggregates


There are many opportunities for businesses to use recycled and secondary aggregates.

Recycled aggregates can be used in a variety of construction applications, such as:

  • bituminous (asphalt) road construction
  • ground improvements
  • earthworks - cuttings and embankments
  • utilities reinstatement
  • shallow foundations
  • shallow and deep foundations
  • buildings - residential and industrial

Recycled and secondary aggregates (RSA) may also be used in a range of construction materials, such as:

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


Geosystems are well-established techniques which involve using, or interfacing with, the ground - see geosystems and recycled and secondary aggregates.

Benefits of using recycled and secondary aggregates

Using sustainable aggregates that meet the same specifications as virgin aggregates should be no more expensive than your current supply and, depending on the location of the supplier, may be cheaper. Specific benefits include:

  • avoidance of waste disposal charges and landfill tax
  • avoidance of aggregates levy payments - as RSA are exempt
  • reduced costs of transporting aggregates if recovered materials are available locally
  • lower costs and shortened timescales associated with some construction techniques - for example 'crack and seat' in road maintenance

Using RSA also has potential environmental benefits, including:

  • conserving natural resources by decreasing the demand for virgin materials
  • protecting local ecosystems and maintaining biodiversity levels
  • reducing energy consumption, transport emissions and disposal of waste to landfill

There can also be social benefits of using locally sourced RSA. For example:

  • encouraging local employment
  • reducing road haulage activities - and therefore reducing road congestion and increasing road safety
  • creating educational opportunities