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Sika achieves breakthrough in concrete recycling by developing new process

production of high-quality concrete from demo material infographic

Sika has developed a new, ground-breaking recycling process for old concrete. The old concrete is broken down into the individual parts gravel, sand and limestone in a simple and efficient process, which also binds about 60 kg. of CO2 per ton of crushed concrete demolition waste. 

This innovation – with the brand name «reCO2ver» – will make a significant contribution to reduce the ecological footprint of the construction industry.

According to the European Commission, 25–30 percent of all waste generated in the EU consists of construction demolition waste materials, many of which could be recycled. Recycling these materials is particularly crucial in dense urban areas, as this is where most old concrete accumulates. Sika has succeeded in developing a highly efficient process that will allow users to separate and reuse the components of old concrete as well as increase the recycled aggregates' quality.

Additives for high-performance concrete

Comparative testing of the Sika «reCO2ver» process has demonstrated that new concrete containing recycled content performs similarly to an all-new product. Thanks to additionally developed chemical additives, further process optimizations can be achieved, such as the flexibility to tailor specific concrete functionalities.

"In the five largest EU countries alone, roughly 300 million tons of old concrete are generated every year. With complete recycling of these materials, up to 15 million tons of CO2 emissions can be captured. We are convinced that our new process has the potential to benefit both our customers and the environment," said Paul Schuler, Chief Executive Officer.

"With our strong expertise in concrete technology, we were able to develop a completely new recycling process that can be considered a game changer in the concrete industry. We are already developing complementary chemical additives and quality enhancers and are pushing the industrialization of our new technology," said Frank Höfflin, Chief Technology Officer.

New process sequesters "significant" amount of CO2

With the new process, Sika says old concrete can be completely recycled and saved from landfill. So far, attempts to recycle old concrete have led to rather low recycling rates, and only 30 percent of primary material can be substituted by these recycled materials in structural concrete. The Sika innovation will produce high-performance concrete while sequestering a significant amount of CO2.

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