Brick disposal and recycling

Brick’s are widely considered to be man’s first manufactured product – with their usage dating back thousands of years. They are used most predominantly in the construction and manufacturing industries, though they have various other uses. However, their popularity means that we produce large volumes of brick waste each year – which must be carefully managed in order to minimise our environmental impact.

Brick disposal and recycling

What type of waste are bricks?

Brick waste is typically classified as non-hazardous construction waste or ‘bulky’ waste – due to its weight. Thankfully, however, bricks are easily recyclable once taken to the appropriate facility.

Who invented bricks?

Bricks have been used for construction purposes long before documented history – as a result, we do not know who first invented them – only that they were used in just about every continent in the world. Archaeologists first discovered bricks at an ancient settlement in Turkey – believed to have been built as early as 7000 BC.

What are bricks made from, and how are they made?

What materials are bricks made from?

Traditionally bricks are made from a combination of clay, sand, and water. However, they sometimes contain traces of Lime, Iron Oxide, and Magnesia, which have various benefits. For example, Iron Oxide is used to add colour to bricks, whereas Lime can make bricks stronger.

How are bricks made?

To create traditional bricks, dried clay is added to a machine known as the ‘Jaw Crusher’. As the name indicates, this machine then crushes and grinds down the materials. Following this, there are three main ways bricks can be made: Extrusion, Moulding or Pressing.

Extrusion.

During the extrusion process, pulverised clay is fed into a machine and mixed with sand and water. It is then placed into a vacuum, where the air is removed and the materials compacted. They are then put through another machine that shapes the brick – sometimes using wires to cut the material into segments.

Moulding.

Sometimes bricks are made by using soft, wet clay that is shaped into a specific mould. This is perhaps the most traditional method, and any ‘handmade’ bricks will be made in this fashion. However, in a factory setting, the moulding process is carried out by a Hydraulic press that compresses all materials into the desired shape.

Pressing.

The pressing process is not dissimilar to moulding, though it tends to require more force. Typically, thicker clay is used here, as it creates a stronger brick overall. The material is placed into a container and compacted, and pressurised with a steel plunger.

After one of the above methods is carried out, bricks are then dried before usage. All moisture must be removed during this time as this could cause irreparable damage to the brick itself. For example, it could cause the brick to crack or crumble. They are typically dried in chambers full of hot air. They are then placed into the kiln for the final stage of the process.

Brick Disposal

How do you dispose of bricks?

Whether you run a construction company or have been carrying out some renovations at your home, there may come a time when you need to dispose of some bricks. However, they are not suitable for collection alongside your general waste, likely due to their bulk and weight. As a result, you should ensure that you:

Store all brick waste in a suitable bin/container before collection. In this case, we’d recommend that you use skips or roll-on roll-off bins for bricks and other forms of construction rubble.

Arrange for the waste to be collected by a licensed carrier.

Next steps

What happens to bricks next after they have been put in the bin?

Due to innovations in technology, bricks can now be recycled relatively easily. In fact, the process is not dissimilar to how they are first formed. The bricks are first fed into a jaw crusher, where they are broken down into smaller pieces. In some cases, the crushed material may be fed through a secondary crusher. The materials are then blended through a pugmill if necessary.

Recycled bricks can be turned into new bricks or to make aggregate for roads and pathways. They are also often used in landscaping projects.

What are some eco-friendly alternatives to bricks?

For new bricks to be created, raw materials must be mined and transported to the factories. As a result, brick manufacturing contributes negatively to the environment – meaning that many have begun to seek out eco-friendly alternatives to bricks that can still be used for construction purposes. This could include:

What can I do with bricks instead of throwing them away?

While it is now easier than ever to recycle bricks – there are other options you could look into instead of simply throwing them away. For example, you could use them to carry out DIY projects within the home, such as building a new wall in your garden. Alternatively, you could use them to give your driveaway a makeover. Artists often use bricks to create sculptures – meaning you could also use this as an opportunity to put your creativity to the test.

What are the costs associated with recycling and disposing of bricks?

As bricks and other forms of construction rubble are considered non-hazardous, their disposal is often relatively inexpensive. At Business Waste, we ensure that our services are cost-effective by providing you with free bins and an comprehensive waste management and collection plan specifically tailored to your business. This means that you can manage the costs of your waste disposal. We’ll even provide you with advice on how you can reduce waste (and, therefore, the costs associated with removal).

How many bricks are there?

According to a recent study, around 1,500 billion bricks are produced each year globally.

In December 2020, 137 million bricks were manufactured in the UK alone.

How many bricks are in landfills?

While there is no specific data available regarding the exact amount of bricks mistakenly sent to landfill sites – it’s estimated that around 30% of materials used within construction are sent to landfill sites each year.

More facts about bricks

There is a consistent demand for bricks throughout the UK, specifically in regards to construction.

In the UK, the average home is made from 10,000 – 15,000 bricks.

There are 1,200 types of brick used within the UK.

The colour of bricks can vary depending on the temperature used in the kiln.

Where can you take bricks to recycle/dispose of them for free?

While bricks are often not accepted alongside your general waste collections from the council, local landfill sites usually take bricks and other construction materials.

Local landfill sites often accept bricks and other However; there is a limit to the amount of waste you can dispose of in this manner – typically five rubble sacks (900mm x 600mm). Alternatively, you can donate old bricks and other construction materials to relevant charities or organisations.

For information on builders waste click here
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