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Do they recycle the concrete when a shopping center is torn down?

Cammie Bellamy
The Galleria shopping center near Wrightsville Beach has been demolished. StarNews file photo

The Galleria shopping center near Wrightsville Beach has been demolished. StarNews file photo

Q. What in the world did they do with all the concrete from the shopping center torn down on Eastwood Road? Does someone buy that? Is it recycled?

A. What happens to concrete after demolition depends on a few things: how much concrete there is, what condition it’s in and what the property owner wants to do with it.

“There are several different options and some of it is dependent on what the contractors are willing to do,” said New Hanover County Landfill Manager Sam Hawes.

If the concrete is clean enough to be considered recyclable, the property owner can sell it or take it to the landfill.

If it’s not recyclable, county ordinance mandates all construction and demolition waste goes to the landfill, Hawes said.

Contractors who want to recycle their concrete can sort demolition materials – separating concrete from wood, metal or anything else – and the landfill will take it for free. Landfill staff will sort it themselves for $55 a ton.

Hawes said recycled concrete is currently used to fill in roads at the landfill, but if the landfill accumulates enough it will be ground into gravel.

“We want to get that material out of the landfill because there are markets available for it,” he said.

Currently, the landfill is limited in how much construction material it can process for recycling. Hawes said it’s unlikely staff could recycle concrete from something as large as a shopping center and would have to bury it in the landfill. But he said the county is working to increase its recycling capabilities to process 60,000 tons at a time, tenfold what it can handle now.

“We’re constricted by the labor we have and the types of equipment we have to process those materials,” Hawes said. “With the expansion that’s coming, we’ll be able to process all of it.”


What happens to the wood chips at the New Hanover County landfill?

Can the landfill set aside construction waste so others can use it?

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