Partnerships for Sustainability: A New Approach to Highway Material
A Report on the Houston Workshop
IV. Field Trip
The afternoon of the second day of the workshop included a field trip to two private firms that are active in producing recycled materials for the Houston area. The intent was to provide examples of successes in partnering and participation in sustainable development. The two firms were a concrete recycling plant and a large organic composting facility.
The first firm, Big City Crushed Concrete, produces a line of recycled products for both public and private consumption. In Houston, coarse aggregate for concrete construction is not locally available. This firm is able to provide the recycled material at a price comparable to or less expensive than the next available alternative of acquiring coarse aggregate from outside sources. This firm also benefits the city by recycling concrete that would otherwise contribute to landfill congestion.
The second firm is a Houston area composting facility Living Earth Technology Company. Similarly, this firm collects and processes many forms of landscape waste that would otherwise be added to local landfills. These organic materials, including grass, leaves, trees, and select byproducts from factories (such as rice hulls) are composted into a variety of products, each with a unique composition and size gradation for different applications. Similar to the crushed concrete facility, this firm collects raw materials from the City of Houston, and in turn sells much of its finished products back to the city.
The key to the success of these efforts was the active participation of the TX DOT recycling coordinators. The TX DOT made simple changes to their specifications that allowed the use of recycled concrete. The industries credited this coordination factor as the key to market and product development.
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