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Recycling of construction waste is a niche to build on

A worker walks in front of a pile of torn-off asphalt roof shingles that are awaiting a recycling procedure that will allow the material to be reused in road paving. - (Photo / STACY WESCOE)

The circle of life is playing out for construction materials at Crushcrete just off Route 412 in Bethlehem, where large pieces of concrete from Allentown’s historic Eighth Street Bridge are being sorted by a man in a large yellow excavator.

The circle of life is playing out for construction materials at Crushcrete just off Route 412 in Bethlehem, where large pieces of concrete from Allentown’s historic Eighth Street Bridge are being sorted by a man in a large yellow excavator.

The blocks, waste from a two-year $18.5 million bridge reconstruction, will be loaded into Crushcrete’s Eagle crusher, a machine which will break the pieces into gravel and screening material.

Next to that pile, a loader is scooping already recycled aggregate into the back of a large truck of a customer that will likely use it as substrate in a construction project.

Crushcrete Inc. was founded in 1998 by the Casilio family, which has run Casilio Concrete in the Lehigh Valley since 1938.

The business was founded out of a need. The concrete company had a great deal of waste product, and disposing of it was expensive.

“It was a way to save money,” said Tony Medei, general manager of Crushcrete and a member of the Casilio family. “And we saw there was a need for other companies in the Lehigh Valley. So we thought why not take this [construction waste] and turn it into something usable; create a valuable product.”

Crushcrete recycles construction materials including concrete, marble, granite slate and brick, and then turns the raw material into three grades of sub-base material that can be used in projects ranging from road construction to garden landscaping, according to Lisa Snyder, business development coordinator.

Medei said Crushcrete offers a significant cost savings for those, such as Casilio Concrete, that need to dispose of the materials.

For example, Crushcrete will charge a contractor about $30 to dump a large truck of about 20 tons of material for recycling. Medei said a landfill would charge closer to $90 per ton.

On the consumer side, savings aren’t as big, Medei acknowledged. He said a landscaper buying a ton of screening material may save a few dollars on his product versus buying newly mined material. He said the real benefit there is to the environment.

Stacy Wescoe
Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at [email protected] or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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