Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Recycling concrete

Recycling concrete crusherRecycling concrete

What you must do

You can recycle concrete and use it as aggregate. Surplus or broken-out concrete will be waste if you discard it, intend to discard it or are required to discard it for any reason. As waste, the duty of care will apply to it.

Duty of care - your waste responsibilities

If you transport concrete and other materials off your site for crushing, you must make sure that you have the appropriate waste transfer documentation.

Waste carriers, brokers and dealers

Reprocessing concrete into usable material is a form of waste treatment and you may need a waste management licence ,a pollution, prevention and control (PPC) permit or an exemption.

If you crush, grind or reduce the size of concrete materials a paragraph 24 exemption may be relevant to you.

NIEA: Paragraph 24 exemption - crushing, grinding or other size reduction of waste bricks, tiles or concrete

SEPA: Waste management licensing exemptions

If you recover or dispose of waste at the place where it is produced, as an integral part of the process, a paragraph 26 exemption may be relevant to you. This applies to facilities that produce semi-dry precast concrete products and that recycle aggregate within the process.

You must register this exemption with your environmental regulator.

NIEA: Paragraph 26 exemption - recovery of waste as an integral part of the process that produces it

SEPA: Waste management licensing exemptions

You must still ensure that your activity does not:

  • endanger human health or cause pollution to water, air or soil
  • cause a risk to plants or animals
  • cause a nuisance in terms of noise, dust, fumes, smoke or odour
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.

If concrete is to be crushed at a processing plant on-site, you must ensure that the crushing plant has a:

  • PPC Part C permit from the local council in Northern Ireland
  • PPC Part B permit from SEPA in Scotland.

Defra: Process Guidance Note 3/16 (04) – Mobile Crushing and Screening (Adobe PDF - 430 KB) (Scotland)

NIEA: GBN 3/3 – Mineral Processes (Crushing and Screening of Rock) (Adobe PDF - 132 KB)

Pollution prevention and control permits

Good practice

The Wrap Aggregates Programme promotes sustainable use of aggregates. It reduces the demand for primary aggregates by encouraging greater use of recycled and secondary aggregates.

Wrap Aggregates Programme

Zero Waste Scotland: maximising re-use on construction sites

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has produced detailed guidance for the construction sector. This is free to download.

CECA: Waste classification and permitting in construction

Northern Ireland

The NIEA in association with the EA and WRAP have revised the end of waste Quality Protocol (October 2013) for the production of aggregates from inert waste. It reflects the latest approved industry standards, including factory production control, and incorporates other improvements and clarifications to make it easier for producers and users to ensure full compliance with the end of waste criteria.

WRAP: Aggregates from inert waste

NIEA: Construction and Demolition Waste and Recycled Concrete

Read about More waste treatment processes on NetRegs

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