Concrete Recycling On Holcim Nz Construction Essay

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In relation to this problem, Holcim has created a Foundation for Sustainable Construction. It is independent from the commercial interests of the Holcim group. The main goal is to promote sustainable responses to the technological, enviromental, socioeconomic and cultural issues affecting building and construction at global levels (Holcim, 2010). Furthermore, the foundation offers Regional Awards Competition for sustainable projects.

The purpose of this report is to present a business plan about Recycled Concrete for Holcim New Zealand. The main idea is to reuse concrete from old builidings in the construction of new buildings. The project is based on an invetigation from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This report adapts the investigation in a business context.

The U.S. Army believed that big quiantities of concrete were available from old buildings and pavement. Recognising this they began recycling from old buildings. They also believed that the reuse of concrete avoids the cost and enviromental problems associated with landfill disposal. Moreover, they saw that the use of recycling materials provide enviromental and economic benefits such as conservation of resources, better performance, lower materials and transportation costs (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004). It is worthwhile to outline the specific advantages of using Recycled Concrete including:

Reduction in the amount of polluting and 'greenhouse' gases emitted during the production of concrete (Sustainable Concrete, 2010).

Better re-use of waste and other accesory materials such as water, aggregate, fuel and other cementitious material (Sustainable Concrete, 2010).

"Keeping concrete debris out of landfills saves landfill space" (Concrete Recycling, 2010).

"Using recycled material as gravel reduces the need for gravel mining" (Concrete Recycling, 2010).

"Means minimization of environmental impacts in an Urban Quarry setting" (Concrete Recycling, 2010).

"Reduces the environmental impacts from extracting and processing virgin materials" (Concrete thinker, 2010).

"Building products that have a portion of their constituent materials from recycled products reduce the need for virgin materials in new construction" (Concrete thinker, 2010).

"New Zealand's production of aggregate per capita is relatively high at 11 tonnes" (Contrafed, 2010).

There are a number of government policies and initiatives encouraging waste minimisation or recycling in New Zealand, including waste minimisation, environmental and sustainability policies, Ministry of the Environment and REBRI recycling initiatives, proposed landfill levies (Contrafed, 2010).

The Transport Agency and Quarry Association of New Zealand have produced a specification for basecourse and best practice guidelines for the supply of recycled concrete material for use in pavements (Contrafed, 2010).


The project intended to provide a sustainable solution. It is divided in General Company description, Product, Operational Plan, Marketing Plan, Management Team, Financial Plan and Current Status.

General Company Description

The history of the company dates back to 1958 Milburn Lime and New Zealand Cement Company merged to Form New Zealand Cement Holding Ltd. In 1977, Holcim Group, a Seiss company, purchased fifty-two percent of New Zealand Cement Holding Ktd before taking complete ownership of the ocmpany in 1999 and named it Holcim Nz Ltd (Holcim, 2010). The company has memberships with corporate social responsability (CSR) or sustainable development-related organisations and partnerships according to sustainable developemtn thematic areas (Holcim Group Support Ltd, 2009).

The company´s main focus is to improve the value they create for their stakeholders, protect their status and guarantee continued succes by making Sustainable Development an integral part of the Holcim NZ Ltd´s strategy. Moreover, the company works within the triple bottom line creating value, sustainable enviromental performance and corporate social responsability (Holcim, 2010).


Holcim Group is the leader in building supplie in the world. The company supplies cement, aggregates, lime and ready mixed concrete. It will be explained the most important product: Concrete. Furthermore, the new product to offer: Concrete recyceld.

Specifically, it is explained the recycling proccess, physical, chemical and quality properties of recycled concrete.


Concrete is made by a mix of limestone, clay and sand with aggregates comprised of sand, gravel and crushe stone. All these together with water form a rock-like substance. The eighty percent of concrete is aggregate. When concrete is mixed, poured and set it cannot be reused except as a recycled raw material. However, it has been discarded in a landfill and replaced with new concrete (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004). The next graphic shows concrete composition.

Figure N°1 - Concrete Composition - Source: U.S. Army 2004

Recycled Concrete

The concrecte could be recycled. It is neccesary to follow certain steps during the proccess of recycling. The most important and advantegous for Holcim is Concrete Building Recycling. The process starts to identify concrete building for demolition. Then, it must be removed all interior and exterior waste materials. Therefore, it is time to mechanically demolish building. Finally, concrete has to be crush and size in the portable plant. However, if it is not re-used totally, it could be stockpiled for a short period of time. The whole process is explained in Operational Plan. The next graphic ilustrates building recycling flow process.

Figure N°2 - Concrete Building Recycling Flow Proccess - Source: U.S. Army 2004

Physical Properties

The crushed stone has many physical properties different from natural aggregates. Crushed stone particles are more angular, enlogated and roughly texture thant natural aggregate. Consequently, it requires more water to produce workable concrete than natural aggregate. However, the lightweight causes crushed conrete to have a lower gravity and higher water absorption than natural aggregates (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004).

Chemical Properties

Recycled concrete from buildings might be contaminated by sulfates form gypsum wallboard and plaster. If the recycled aggregates used in conrete are accesible to moisture, there is a possibility of sulfate attack. Furthermore, there is a potential reaction between recycled concrete and alkaline water. The consequences are internal fracturing and premature deterioration. Moreover, marine exposure of buildings can present chloride in recycled concrete. This can impact the reinfrocing steel within concrete. Particularly, reinforcing stell may react to form rust or irion oxide. In conclusion, the total elimination of pollutants is not practical. Therefore, it is neccesary to determine acceptable levels of contaminants in order to eliminate unnecessary processing cost (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004).

Quality Properties

Quality varies in type and impurities of debris sources. It is crucial to prevent contamination of the concrete by dirt or other materials that would restrict the recycling like gypsum plaster products. In addition, concrete building recycling requieres more concern for pollutants such as plaster, soil, wood, vinyl, rubber and soil. For demolition, a good separation of the various waste materials can increase the demolition cost, but provide higher market value for the aggregate (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004).

Operational Plan

The recycling process is relatively simple, but requires heavy-duty equipment capable of handling a variety of materials. Specifically, the technology involves crushing, sizing and blending. Furthermore, it is neccesary to remove metal and waste materials from the concrete at the start of processing by magnetic or manual separation. The next section explains the remove of an important waste material: Steel Reinfrocement.

There are tow types of plants. The first one is portable located on the job site.

The second one is an stationery plant situated at an existing landfill. Both plants use primary and secondary crushers. The first one is called jaw crushers. It can handle large pieces of concrete. Then, the larger material is fed into a secondary crusher (conse crusher) that breaks the particles down to the maximum size required.

It is neccesary to choose between portable plants and stationery plants. The portable plants advantages are the ease of moving the equipment for cleaning and maintenance.Moreover, the ability to go to the job site. However, the portable plants have to be small enough to fit on road and under overpasses because demolition sites may have space limitations. The contractor usually has many pieces of mobile equipment at the site. As a consequence, it is not the same to recycle at a stationery plant without these obstacles (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004). The most suitable option to be sustainable is a portable plant. By investing in portable plants Holcim avoid air pollution by transportation.

Steel Reinforcement

It is neccesary to remove steel reinforcement from the salvaged concrete before or during the crushing operation. Several advances have been developed to minimize hand labor in the removal of steel. The pieces of reinforcing steel are removed either by electromagnet, suspended above the conveyer belt commanding from the primary crusher, or removed manually by one or two men.

The reinforcement could be sell because there is a good demand for recycled steel. Consequently, very little steel ends up in landfills. The procces of recycling consist on melting down the reinforcing bars to create new steel products, whinch can include new bars (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004).


The excess recycled aggegate should be stockpilled for use on future. However, regulations may not permit for more than a specified amount of time like in United States. After certain time, the crushed aggregate is recongnised as waste and would need to be disposed of (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004).

Comparison of process

The recycling proccess was explained above. However, it is really interesting to compare it with concrete process. Recycling proccesses involve crushing and recycling of concrete with the use of mobile crushing plants. On the other hand, the extraction of natural resources is composed by the procceses of quarrying, crushing and grinding of natural aggregates. Moreover, in the extraction processes their implicit consumption of energy must also be considered. In addition, Quarrying produces a variaety of enviromental problems. For instance, they create large cavities in the traditional landscape and generate noise and dust pollution.

Generally, they are located on the suburbs of cities, where their environmental consequences will not affect comunities. As cities expand, the distance between aggregate producers and cities increases, so does the cost involved in transportation of the aggregates. Besides, there is no doubt that transportation is a major part of the enviromental burden because it is responsible for the most emmission of gases and energy usage. Furthermore, there is a fixed amount of areas to deposit waste materials. As landfills become more heavily regulated and landfill cost rise, it makes economic sense to investigate alternative means of disposal of concrete (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004).

Marketing Plan

The marketing plan is directed by Green Marketing Inc. from U.S.A., which specializes in marketing plan development and sustainable planning and auditing. This section explained Market definition, Competition and other influences and Marketing Mix Variables. For any further information, please contact Green Marketing Inc.

Market definition

Holcim Nz will direct its efforts to the sale of its recycle product through clients interesting in reconstructing old buildings. Geographically, the company will initialy direct its efforts in two key areas: the Auckland Region, Wellington and Chirstchurch city. These areas have a high concentration of buildings construction.


Holcim Nz can expect to face competition from two key areas: first, traditional construction, and second, sustainable construction such as green building. The first one is not a problem because it is the ordinary businees of Holcim. However, the company in the future want to use only recycling in order to be sustaianble. The second one is currently investigating by Holcim Foundation for sustainable construction. Consequently, it is not a serious risk for this project.

Marketing Mix Variables

The product was explained above. This section describes place, price and promotion.

The place is a very important aspect. There is no doubt that it is neccesary to recycle near the demolition place in order to avoid air polution by transportation. Portable plants are the solution. Moreover, investing in hybrid vehicles helps to be sustainable in the whole process.

The promotion goal is to motivate New Zealanders to use recycling concrete for construction like reconstructing a building. The most suitable tool is green marketing strategy like recylce papers for brochures, internet resources, invite companies to explain the benefits of recycling concrete for them and the future generations.

As regards to the price, it is a little more expansive that traditional construction but this extra cost is balanced with transportation costs. However, it will be 15 percent above the suggested financial plan because it is an innovative plan. When the competence enter, the price will diminish 15 percent.

Management Team

This section of the business plan outlines Holcim Nz´s key management personnel. The company´s major outside advisors in the recycling concrete area, as well as financial advisors and marketing consultants.

Top Management

The company´s three principals are:

Smith Jeremy Managing Director

Howie David General Manager Concrete & Aggregates

Ken Cowie Capital Projects Manager

Each of these individuals bring unique competence to this project.

Recycled Concrete advisors

Dr. George M. Towsed is an engineer with experience in concrete industry. For the last ten years he has run recycling concrete in U.S. Army. He is one of the authors of technical bulletin 200-1-27 published in September 2004 for U.S. Army Corps of engineers. Dr. George has been pioneer in the area of recycling concrete as creating recycling machines. Dr. Donald A. Vladcock is an engineer with experience in construction industry. For the last five years, he investigated new styles for sustainable construction as using recycling concrete. Dr. George Towsed will serve as a full-time employee of the company, while Donald Vladcock will serve as a consultant.

Financial advisor

Financial services will be provided by Price Water House Cooper Nz. It will add to the project value by helping improve transparency, trust and consistency of business processes. Moreover, this company is committed to demostrating sustainable development such as practice and actions for the enviromment.

Marketing Consultant

Marketing expertise wiil be provided by Green Marketing Inc. of U.S.A., which specializes in marketing plan development and sustainable planning and auditing. Since 2000, the company has been uniquely adept at infusing sustainability and corporate social responsibility into the marketing strategy of any organization willing to make a commitment to this type of strategy. The president of Green Marketing Inc., Darrin C. Duber-Smith has over 20 years of experience in the marketing and management profession includgin extensive experience in working with green/sustainable products (Green Marketing Inc, 2010).

Financial Plan

The non-renewable resources have caused a substantial increase in the cost of construction materials. Moreover, the rising cost of fuel and equipment required to transport the concrete has animated recylcing. Moreover, the elimination of removing old concrete and disposals costs. On the other hand, there is a potential use of recycled aggregates and potential income generated from the sale of scrap rebar (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2004).

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2004) makes certain assumptions in order to compare annual operating cost between diversion and disposal of construction and demolition wastes. These are (amounts are expressed in U.S.A. currency):

Recycle crushed concrete on base at 240 ton/year.

Crushing costs: $4/ton (includes crusher rental an labour).

Landfill costs (waste disposal): $1/ton.

Hauling costs: $5/ton.

Avoided new fill material costs (total recovered income): $12/ton.

Annual Operating Cost Comparison for Diversion and Disposal of (240 tons/year) contruction and demolition wastes.




Crusher Costs (Labor&Rental)



Waste Disposal















Figure N°3 - Annual Operating Comparison - Source: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2004).

The comparison above shows that the crusher cost is aproximately $4/ton. However, it is eliminated the cost of removing old concrete, disposal costs and new fill materials costs. Moreover, it is crucial the potential use of recycled concrete and the sale of scrap rebar. In conclusion, it is very clear that recycling concrete makes sense for the cost benefits, the redirection of material that would otherwise be waste and the conservation of resources. Furthermore, the majority of the equipment can be considered standard in heavy construction. It is neccesary the same basic equipment used to virgin aggregate for crushing, sizeing and stockpile recycled concrete aggregates. This is explained in the operational plan.

Current Status

Current status, accomplishments to date, timeline and use of funds