Giving Gravel a Second Life
Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world. However, it is not sustainable – unless recycled materials are used for its production. In the Rathausviertel district of Kirchheim bei München, in Germany, excavated gravel was generated by the truckload during the construction of excavation pits for a new residential quarter – to be built by DIBAG Industriebau AG, one of the leading German project development companies – which is now being reused for concrete production. In this way, the Bauer Umwelt Division of BAUER Resources GmbH is unearthing a new treasure that not only makes a sustainable contribution to a clean environment, but also embraces the philosophy of a circular economy.
Before the valuable resource could be excavated, the site boundaries were positioned, access routes created and storage areas were prepared for the excavated material. Then the planning for the excavation pit was drawn up.
Next came the gradual excavation of the 3 excavation pits up to a depth of 3 m. In the process, a total of 38,000 m3 of material was removed and disposed of. The 33,000 m3 of gravel generated here was loaded directly, transported to a nearby gravel plant and treated there so it can be processed into concrete. In comparison, the CO2 emissions and consumption of resources for the production of conventional concrete are immense.
In Germany alone, approximately 27.5 million t of concrete are produced each year. If just a small portion of this were produced from recycled gravel, concrete manufacturing would be a whole lot more sustainable. Natural raw materials would be conserved and excavated materials would not have to be disposed of.
Finally, the team from the Bauer Umwelt Division will construct the capping layer and install a king post wall deep in the ground to secure the excavation pit. Once this work is finished, a modern residential quarter with 138 apartments and 28 townhouses should enrich the community of Kirchheim bei München in early 2024.
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