Research shows cities take long road to recycling

phys.org | 11/8/2018 | Staff
blacky (Posted by) Level 3
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Among municipalities recycling and reusing construction waste, including gravel, concrete, sand and asphalt, Ontario has its 'leaders' and its 'laggards,' explained Kate Graham, a Political Science professor at King's and Brescia University Colleges.

Every year in Ontario, millions of tonnes of reusable asphalt and concrete aggregate is generated from road rebuilding and other construction projects. While most of it is recyclable for use in roads and other developments, local policies often prohibit or restrict using recycled aggregates in their construction projects.

Effect - Millions - Tonnes - Aggregate - Landfills

The net effect is millions of tonnes of recyclable aggregate unnecessarily end up in landfills – and that means missed opportunity for municipalities and taxpayers.

"There are numerous environmental benefits from recycling aggregate materials," said Graham, including removing thousands of fully loaded trucks from the road and thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions; reducing wear and damage to public roads; conserving raw aggregate resources; and keeping massive amounts of material out of municipal landfills.

Graham - Research - Toronto - Area - Road

Graham's research, commissioned by the Toronto and Area Road Builders Association, covered six regional municipalities and 19 single- or lower-tier municipalities. Collectively, these 25 municipalities serve more than 10 million Ontarians (more than three-quarters of Ontario's population) and spend more than $1.2 billion per year on roads.

Graham found many large municipalities prohibit or restrict using recycled aggregate materials for new roads and infrastructure and for municipal subdivisions.

Municipalities - Use - Materials - Base - Pavement

Few large municipalities allow (or they allow only allow partial use of) recycled aggregate materials in the base and fill below pavement, unpaved shoulders and concrete slab. If a municipality allows full use of recycled aggregate, it is most likely to approve its use on construction access roads and bicycle paths.

"Greater use of recycled aggregate materials in municipal roads and infrastructure construction and maintenance represent the opportunity for Ontario municipalities to demonstrate their environmental commitment," Graham added. "Unfortunately, Ontario's largest municipalities have a long...
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