How to Dispose of Old Concrete
Welcome to an article that attempts to tackle one of the most daunting recycling and disposal dilemmas around: what to do with old, broken up concrete.
Whether you are dismantling a structure, tearing out some concrete steps, or replacing a dilapidated concrete driveway, you will quickly learn that the big challenge isn't the remodeling work that you are about to undertake. It's disposing of the old stuff.
This article addresses the issue as it applies to the average homeowner, not to a large, commercial project. Unfortunately for the residential set, there aren't a lot of viable options (yet).
You may have some luck finding someone in search of fill material. In this case, offering your concrete (or other building materials) might be a possibility.
Here are some other broken concrete (or brick) disposal options.
1. Haul It in a Pickup Truck
If you have your own or have access to a pickup truck, you can haul the stuff away yourself; but you'll probably have to make several trips due to the weight.
You will not be able to fill the entire bed of the average pickup with broken concrete. Yes, I mean to the top rail height!
You will bust the springs, cause the shocks to fail, and/or seriously strain the truck's engine. Please don't be like so many suburban homeowners that think pickups can handle a semi-trailer's worth of weight because the truck looks great in those "Like a Rock" commercials.
Tips on Doing It
- Line the bed with a bedliner (if it doesn't have one), and consider placing some moving pads on the pickup bed before placing the broken concrete in the bed.
- Moving pads can be bought or rented at your local U-Haul or other moving supplies store.
- If you use a friend's pickup, suggest that you'll provide the labor while he or she provides the truck. Loading concrete into a pickup is a huge pain in the ass. The standard "I'll buy ya a beer" is simply insufficient.
- Consider buying a utility trailer if you own a home or piece of land. A used trailer can be more useful than you realize.
Where to Take It
Take the broken concrete to a landfill that accepts "C&D" (junk hauler parlance for "Construction & Demolition" materials). It will not (usually) be cheap. Remember, this is concrete. It's a pain to get rid of.
Try to find a landfill that accepts by the load as opposed to by weight. Some landscaping or gardening supply outlets, which cater to landscaping contractors, will accept C&D on a per-pickup load basis.
You'll have to pay per load, anywhere from $20 on up. Probably most places are charging around $40 for a pickup load of broken concrete these days.
2. Building Materials Supply Companies
Building materials supply companies — the larger scale operations that have a fleet of cement mixers and/or gravel-hauling dump trucks — may take your old concrete.
Some may even do so free of charge, providing you haul it to their location and hand unload it yourself. It never hurts to call them and ask.
3. Search for Haulers in the Classifieds
Search your local small town weekly paper (available even in big towns — I'm talking about the weekly gazette that features pages of classifieds towards the back) for "Haulers." In addition, these guys (they're always guys) are on the web more and more these days.
They'll probably take your old concrete if you are honest with them over the phone: tell them roughly how much you have, and if it's ready to go, i.e. in a nice pile (or not). If your junk concrete isn't ready to go, expect to pay extra for the dismantling.
You thought of that, right? Obviously, you'll pay more than you would if you dump the stuff yourself. If it doesn't cost more than what you would pay, then the hauler in question has a place to dump it (some guys are contractors and use it as fill), while others get "volume discounts" from a series of landfills that they work with.
Rest assured it won't end up at the side of the road, as illegal dumping has gotten very expensive and harder to get away with. Which brings up another point: please don't illegally dump broken concrete yourself, m'kay? You thought about this for about a second, didn't you? Scumbag.
4. Try 1-800-Got-Junk
I don't know what the 1-800-GOT-JUNK guys charge for the hauling of broken concrete. They seem to specialize in hauling off old furniture, trinkets, tires, and, well, junk.
You can call them, but they're pricey even on stuff that Goodwill, veterans groups, and the Salvation Army will pick up for free, so I can't imagine that they'll be cost-effective with the broken concrete loads of the world.
5. Make a Flower Bed
You could break up the old stuff yourself and make a flower bed with it. But - you saw that suggestion already, elsewhere. I just thought I'd throw it in for a good laugh. Try it.
You'll get about ten minutes in, then go back to the first suggestion here. In fact, do it anyway, because then you'll appreciate the quote you get from suggestion #4.
Any individual or business that will accept your old concrete, but will only do so for a price, is more than likely doing you and the environment a favor.
Old concrete isn't a commodity with similar recyclable value that scrap metals or cardboard possess. If the price is reasonable, pay up.