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Innovative Process to Recycle Spent Concrete Being Piloted in Georgia

Innovative Process to Recycle Spent Concrete Being Piloted in Georgia

Argos pilots Crispy Crete process at Columbus and Smyrna plants

An idea that was submitted to the Argos Ideaxion innovation platform by three employees is being piloted in our Georgia ready mix business. Their idea is to use technology to recycle spent concrete, which could save the company money since the cost to haul and dump returned concrete off-site can be well over $10,000 a month for a single plant. Concrete might be returned for a number of reasons, like not meeting specifications or inaccurate order quantity by the customer. In addition, the spent concrete is wasteful, since so many natural resources, time and effort went into making the concrete.

So, to combat this issue, David Black, Atlanta Ready Mix Division Manager; Steve Phillips, South Georgia Ready Mix Division Manager; and Kirk Deadrick, Ready Mix Quality Assurance Director, submitted an idea to our Ideaxion platform that would use a process called Crispy Crete, which was founded by Charles Bell, that uses a foam technology to transform the returned concrete to a manageable base material that can be sold to customers as road base.

The returned concrete is first treated with the foam, and then the driver inputs the amount of returned concrete on the control panel, selects “start,” and the process begins. The next step, the treated concrete is discharged in the designated storage bins, and that is when the foaming agent works its magic removing the moisture from the concrete, transferring it into a very manageable base material. The last step, the drum is washed out using 100 gallons of the recycled water at our plant for a very quick and efficient process.

The technology promises to use a minimal amount of water to process returned concrete. When compared to washout pits, Crispy Crete claims to use 90 percent less water. In addition to the water reduction, the process does not produce material that needs to be landfilled, reduces the amount of virgin aggregate used, and thus could potentially offer substantial environmental improvements associated with the processing of unhardened concrete.

The pilot started this month at our Columbus and Smyrna plants, and we are currently trying to stockpile enough of this material and then reach out to customers to gauge how this new technology might benefit our customers.