broken brick wall.
Brick Disposal and Recycling

Brick Disposal and Recycling

Bricks are widely considered to be man’s first manufactured product – with their usage dating back thousands of years. They’re predominantly used in the construction and manufacturing industries, though they have various other uses. However, their popularity means we produce large volumes of brick waste each year.

Recycling and disposing of bricks must be carefully managed to minimise our environmental impact. Find out everything you need to know about disposing of and recycling bricks so your construction, demolition, manufacturing, or other business gets rid of brick waste in an environmentally friendly and safe way.

How do you dispose of bricks?

Whether you run a construction company or are carrying out your own home renovations, you might need to dispose of some old, broken, or unneeded bricks. However, you can’t dispose of bricks alongside your general waste – due to their bulk and weight. Instead, when disposing of bricks, you should:

  • Store all brick waste in a suitable bin or container before collection. We recommend using skips or roll-on roll-off bins for bricks and other forms of construction rubble.
  • Ensure no other materials are kept in the same bin or container, to avoid contamination.
  • Arrange for safe and proper brick disposal by having your brick waste collected by a licensed carrier.

Where can I dispose of 
bricks and rubble near me?

The main places and options for disposing of bricks and rubble locally include:

  • Using a licensed waste carrier to remove bricks and rubble from your business or property.
  • Visiting a tip or recycling centre near you – check they accept bricks and rubble first.
  • Hiring a skip to store them in and arranging removal.
  • Using a HIPPOBAG or skip bag for smaller amounts of old bricks and rubble.
  • Donating for reuse – such as a local school, community gardening project, or neighbours.

Can you recycle bricks?

Yes, you can recycle bricks whether they’re still intact or broken up. Thanks to innovations in technology recycling bricks is relatively easily. The process to recycle bricks is similar to how they’re first formed:

  • The bricks are first fed into a jaw crusher, where they’re 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 are turned into new bricks or used to make aggregate for roads and pathways. They’re also often used in landscaping projects.

Inert waste disposal
four bricks leaning on each other.

What can I do with 
old broken bricks?

You can recycle old broken bricks, as the process involves crushing them down into smaller pieces. A few other ideas of what to do with old broken bricks are:

  • Make a brick path through your home or business’ garden.
  • Add an edge to your yard, garden, or pathways.
  • Build a small dry-stone wall.
  • Form raised flower beds or planters.
  • Create artworks such as murals or brick mosaics.
  • Build a birdbath or brick waterfall (if you have a pond).

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 – you just pay for collection. Our experts also help put together a comprehensive waste management and collection plan specifically tailored to your business.

This helps you easily manage the costs of your brick disposal. We’ll even provide you with advice on how you can reduce waste (and, therefore, the costs associated with removal). For a free quote please contact us today – call 0800 211 8390 or contact us online.

Where can you dispose of bricks 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. However, there’s normally a limit to how much 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 free. Recycling or reusing bricks is always the best option to avoid them going to landfill.

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

While it’s now easier than ever to recycle bricks – there are other options you could look into rather than throwing them away. A few ideas of what to do with old broken bricks and those still intact can include:

  • Using bricks them to carry out DIY projects within the home, such as building a new wall in your garden.
  • Giving your driveaway a makeover with broken up and crushed old bricks.
  • Donating to artists to make sculptures or creating your own in your garden, garage, or workshop.

What type of waste are bricks?

Brick waste typically classes as non-hazardous construction waste or ‘bulky’ waste – due to its weight. Sometimes used and broken bricks and rubble are also referred to as inert waste, which makes up most construction, demolition, and excavation waste. Thankfully, bricks are easily recyclable once taken to the appropriate facility.

Who invented bricks?

Bricks have been used for construction purposes long before documented history. Therefore, we don’t know who first invented them – only that they’ve been 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 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. This machine crushes and grinds down the materials. Following this, there are three main ways bricks can be made:

  • Extrusion – During the extrusion process, pulverised clay is fed into a machine and mixed with sand and water. It’s then placed into a vacuum, where the air is removed and the materials compacted. They’re then put through another machine that shapes the brick – sometimes using wires to cut the material into segments.
  • Moulding – Sometimes bricks are made using soft, wet clay that’s shaped into a specific mould. This is 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 similar to moulding, though it tends to require more force. Typically, thicker clay is used here, as it creates a stronger brick. The material is placed into a container and compacted, then pressurised with a steel plunger.

After any of these processes, bricks are then dried before use. All moisture must be removed during this time, as it could cause irreparable damage to the brick itself, leading to it cracking or crumbling. They’re typically dried in chambers full of hot air, then placed in a kiln for the final stage of the process.

What are some eco-friendly 
alternatives to bricks?

For new bricks to be created, raw materials must be mined and transported to the factories. Brick manufacturing therefore requires lots of energy and contributes negatively to the environment. This means many individuals and businesses now seek out eco-friendly alternatives to bricks that can still be used for construction purposes. This could include:

  • Bamboo

How many bricks are there?

According to a recent study, around 1,500 billion bricks are produced each year globally. In the UK, just less than two billion bricks are manufactured annually, even though around 2.4 billion bricks are used in construction across the country every year.

How many bricks are in landfill?

While there’s 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.

What are some facts about bricks?

There’s a consistent demand for bricks throughout the UK, specifically for construction. A few key facts about bricks include:

  • In the UK, the average home is made from between 10,000 and 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.

Learn about more 
waste types

Find out more about other rubbish streams.

Read our guides to waste types
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