Up-scaling and mainstreaming sustainable building practices in western China
Up-scaling and mainstreaming sustainable building practices in western China 

Recycling of Aggregates and Gravel

In a case study for the city of Zurich, Switzerland, it was found that about 80% of deconstruction material is recycled (AWEL 2010). Most of this material however is used as an inferior building material. The other 20% is disposed of in landfills. Currently, almost all types of re-cycled concretes have slightly worse attributes than concretes made from primary gravel. However, if this is properly accounted for in the planning of a construction project, even recycled concretes can be used in structurally relevant parts of a building. Nevertheless, this would require some rethinking in the building industry. Therefore, the Amt für Abfall, Wasser, Energie und Luft (AWEL) (Office for Waste, Water, Energy and Air) has created the Swiss information initiative ―Kies für Generationen (gravel for generations; own interpretation). The purpose of this initiative is to spread knowledge on the use of recycled materials and to enhance the information exchange between science and industry (AWEL, 2010).


(a) natural gravel often used as coarse aggregate in concrete, (b) crushed stone coarse aggregate typically used in asphalt mixtures in paving and in concrete, and (c) a compacted crushed stone layer used as granular base material.

Source: C. Meininger, R & J. Stokowski

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