Canadian aggregates recycling initiative established in Ontario

10 January 2012

An organisation has been established to encourage the use of recycled aggregates in infrastructure projects in the Canadian state of Ontario. The Aggregate Recycling Ontario (ARO) was established in December 2011 and consists of 17 companies and seven associations that produce and reuse recycled aggregates with the aim of bringing attention and finding solutions to the growing aggregates stockpiles in the area. ARO was organised by the Ontario Sand and Gravel Association and the Toronto and Area Road Builders Association.

Some 3 million tonnes of recyclable aggregates currently are stockpiled in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Although the Ontario government, through the Ministry of Transportation, and some municipalities have been leaders in using recycled aggregates for years, many municipalities' specifications do not allow recycled aggregates to be used in construction projects.

According to ARO chair Adrian Van Niekerk: "There is an immediate crisis in the GTA surrounding recycled aggregate. Recycling yards are filling up to capacity with broken concrete and asphalt, yet not nearly enough is leaving the site to be used again in new construction. Some facilities have had to close their yards to new deliveries, because there is just no more room."

Adrian went on: "We hope to find out why most municipalities do not use recycled aggregate and to rectify any issues they may have with these materials. Industry has been very progressive in separating broken concrete and asphalt from construction projects and bringing them to recycling yards to be re-processed, instead of going to landfills."

"We are going through similar growing pains as the paper and plastics recycling industries, when they first got started, but need to close the loop to manage our non-renewable aggregate resources more sustainably," he added.

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