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Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

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Resources, Conservation & Recycling

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/resconrec


Recycling of wastes for value-added applications in concrete blocks: An T


Yazi Menga, Tung-Chai Linga, , Kim Hung Mob
Key Laboratory for Green & Advanced Civil Engineering Materials and Application Technology of Hunan Province, College of Civil Engineering, Hunan University,
Changsha, 410082, Hunan, China
Centre for Innovative Construction Technology (CICT), Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Malaya, Malaysia


Keywords: Environmental concerns related to the disposal of various waste materials have escalated to a worrying level.
Concrete blocks Depending on the local industries, different types of waste are generated in huge quantities every year. Hence,
Sustainability the demand for more sustainable development has further increased the importance of green construction. In
Recycling recent years, extensive study efforts have been made to recycle wastes for possible use in the production of
Waste materials
concrete products. This is because concrete blocks seem to be the most popular option for the incorporation of
Value-added properties
recycled waste materials due to the lower quality requirements of materials. This paper reviews published re-
Aggregate replacement
search works on the use of various kinds of wastes (i.e. recycled concrete, crushed brick, soda lime glass, cathode
ray tube glass, crumb rubber, ceramic and tile waste, etc.) in the production of concrete blocks. The common
concrete block properties as well as the value-added properties of concrete blocks with incorporated waste
materials are highlighted and discussed in this paper. Several unique characteristics of recycled crumb rubber,
plastic waste and crushed brick enhance the fire resistance, toughness, functional and insulation properties of
concrete blocks. Also, the quantity of these materials incorporated into concrete blocks can be maximized up to
100% as natural aggregate replacements, while their usage can also be limited to below 30% in certain appli-
cations in order to meet the standard requirements of concrete blocks. The compliance of concrete blocks with
standard requirements and the value-added properties have demonstrated good potential for incorporating
wastes as aggregate in concrete blocks.

1. Introduction lightweight, better sound and thermal insulation are the important
functional properties for buildings. If the wall blocks are to be designed
Concrete blocks are among the main building materials in the as load-bearing members, then their compressive strength should not be
construction industry. In the United States, about 23–30 million pieces less than 7 MPa (Neville, 1995). Since concrete paving blocks are more
and more than 2000 types of concrete blocks are produced annually prone to cracking under traffic loading (fail in bending), the minimum
(Fan, 1996). Unlike normal concrete cast in situ, concrete blocks are requirement of splitting tensile strength must be greater than 3.6 MPa
mass produced in factories using the dry mix pressed method, in which (Ghafoori and Mathis, 1998), and they are expected to possess better
the constituent materials are molded under compacted loads with a ability to resist acid, abrasion, weathering and frost than other types of
vibration action (Poon et al., 2002). Only a small amount of water is concrete blocks.
required for the concrete block mixture so that it can be fed into the However, the rapid growth of the construction industry has led to
molding machine to allow immediate demolding (Putnam, 1973). environmental problems caused by excessive mining and usage of
For a long time, concrete blocks have been used in different con- natural resources such as aggregate and cement (Mo et al., 2016). Ap-
struction applications, such as partition wall blocks, paving blocks, and proximately 275 million tons of new aggregate are extracted annually
floor blocks, among others (Yan, 1996). The most unique feature of in the UK and this is estimated to increase by 1% each year (Soutsos
concrete block their ability to be molded into different shapes, thick- et al., 2011a). Concerns over the damage to the surrounding environ-
nesses, densities and strengths for different civil engineering applica- ment, destruction of the ecological balance and emission of greenhouse
tions (Scholz and Grabowiecki, 2007). For partition wall blocks, gases have become increasingly severe (Blankendaal et al., 2014). In

Corresponding author.
E-mail address: tcling@hnu.edu.cn (T.-C. Ling).

Received 8 May 2018; Received in revised form 27 July 2018; Accepted 28 July 2018
Available online 11 August 2018
0921-3449/ © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

addition, without proper waste recycling, the huge number of industrial recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) can be used to fully replace natural
by-products and waste materials produced are either burnt or land- aggregate for the production of concrete blocks. Certainly, it is also seen
filled and this could cause serious environmental pollution and con- as a key driver for recycling the waste supported by the related gov-
tamination (Karade, 2010; Xuan et al., 2018). Therefore, there is a ernment policies, guidelines and strategies (Jin et al., 2017).
pressing need to improve the re-use value of waste materials. In general, it was observed that the increase in RCA content leads to
Hence, efforts to recycle and reuse waste materials have resulted in reduction in the compressive strength of concrete blocks (Sabai et al.,
intensive research works being carried out to incorporate these wastes 2013; Soutsos et al., 2011a, 2011b; Matar and Dalati, 2011), which is
in concrete blocks, which have shown promise in managing the huge normally attributed to the weak interfacial transition zone, low com-
amount of wastes generated each year (Yang et al., 2011). Commonly, pressive strength of recycled concrete aggregate (ranging from 5.2 to
most of the waste materials were investigated for potential use as an 10.4 N/mm2 compared to about 14.2 N/mm2 for natural aggregates)
aggregate replacement to produce concrete blocks with not only en- and higher porosity (about 7 times more porous than natural ag-
hanced sustainability, but also value-added performances. For instance, gregates) (Sabai et al., 2013). Soutsos et al. (2011a) investigated the use
apart from reduced dependency on conventional aggregates, the in- of RCA as coarse and fine aggregates for the production of concrete
corporation of various types of construction and demolition wastes such building blocks and noted that the reduction in strength of concrete
as recycled concrete aggregates (with CO2 treatment), crushed bricks, blocks was more significant when RCA was used as a fine aggregate
and concrete slurry waste as aggregate has been found to be beneficial replacement. This was attributed to the higher porosity of the recycled
in enhancing the properties of concrete blocks such as compressive concrete fine aggregates compared to the corresponding coarse ag-
strength and fire resistance (Zhan et al., 2013, 2016a,b; Xiao et al., gregates and thus, it was recommended that the maximum replacement
2013; Kou et al., 2012; Hossain et al., 2017). Besides this, recent reports level of fine and coarse aggregate be 30% and 60%, respectively (see
show that crumb rubber could contribute to better insulation properties Fig. 1). Due to the higher water absorption of RCA caused by the pre-
as well as enhanced toughness while the inclusion of waste glass ag- sence of the cement paste/mortar attached to the surface, Soutsos et al.
gregate could improve the aesthetic and ornamental values of concrete (2011b) suggested the RCA replacement levels of coarse and fine ag-
blocks (Mohammed et al., 2012; Ling et al., 2013b). Nevertheless, in gregates to be reduced to 55% and 25%, respectively, so that their
order to maximize the use of waste materials to produce value-added water absorption can be limited to below 6% and that they satisfy the
eco-friendly concrete blocks, the unique characteristics and limitations durability as well as freeze-thaw resistance requirements of concrete
for different types of waste materials need to be carefully considered. paving blocks. In terms of mechanical strength, Matar and Dalati,
Therefore, in this paper, the use of different types of wastes as ag- (2011, 2012) and Poon et al. (2002) demonstrated that there was little
gregate replacements in concrete blocks is reviewed. The unique effect on the compressive strength of concrete blocks when up to 50%
characteristics of each type of waste material and the value-added RCA was incorporated as a partial aggregate replacement. Besides that,
properties as well as the basic properties of concrete blocks are high- researchers concluded that a relatively higher cement content is usually
lighted and discussed in detail. This has the aim of providing a general required for RCA concrete blocks to compensate for the loss in com-
idea of the future development of value-added eco-friendly concrete pressive strength (Soutsos et al., 2011a, 2011b; Matar and Dalati, 2011,
blocks incorporating waste materials. 2012).
In order to maximize usage of RCA and increase the value-added
2. Waste materials as aggregate in concrete blocks properties in concrete blocks, recent studies have focused on utilizing
CO2 curing techniques. It was demonstrated that by adopting CO2
Aggregate is one of the major components (up to 80% by volume) in curing, the compressive strength, drying shrinkage and fire resistance
concrete blocks and vital in influencing the properties of concrete performances of concrete blocks containing RCA could be improved
blocks. Since the usage of conventional aggregate is not en- (Xuan et al., 2016a,2016b; Zhan et al., 2013, 2016a, 2016b). An ex-
vironmentally friendly and causes depletion of natural resources ample of the CO2 treatment setup for concrete blocks is shown in Fig. 2.
(Medina et al., 2012), a variety of waste materials have been recycled The concrete blocks with CO2 curing have reduced porosity, and the
and used as aggregate in concrete blocks. Although generally exhibiting density can be increased from 1995 to 2222 kg/m3, hence resulting in
lower strength, lower density and higher water absorption, blocks in- compressive strength increase. This is because under a controlled en-
corporating waste materials can satisfy the necessary requirements of vironment, the CO2 easily reacts with the old cement mortars contained
blocks with a proper aggregate replacement ratio. This is because the in the RCA, whereby the carbonation reaction consumes the calcium
quality requirements for raw materials used in the production of con- hydroxide (CH) present to form calcium carbonate (CaCO3), leading to
crete blocks are relatively low compared to other conventional concrete a denser microstructure and lower drying shrinkage (Zhan et al., 2013,
products. Moreover, majority of waste materials have their own unique 2016a). In addition, the fire resistance of concrete blocks was found to
characteristics and can be utilized in concrete blocks for special appli- be enhanced, was also due to the carbonation reaction, producing
cations. The basic physical properties and appearance of each type of carbonates products which are more thermally stable than common
waste are presented in Table 1. cement hydration products (CH, calcium silicate hydrate (CSH), etc.)
(Zhan et al., 2016b). Moreover, this beneficial CO2 curing can com-
2.1. Recycled concrete waste pensate for the strength loss and allows the use of 100% RCA in con-
crete blocks (Zhan et al., 2016a). In subsequent research, it was re-
Recycled concrete is a waste material mainly obtained from con- vealed that pre-treatment of RCA to optimize the moisture content cam
struction and demolition (C&D) activities. The European Union (EU) maximize CO2 uptake during the curing and further improve the
produces about 850 million tons of C&D waste each year, representing compressive strength of RCA concrete blocks. Xuan et al. (2016a) also
31% of the total waste generated within the EU (Fischer and Werge, found that by carbonating the RCA itself, the drying shrinkage can be
2009). The massive amount of C&D waste is usually used for low-value reduced besides increasing the compressive strength of the resulting
applications such as road construction or is land-filled instead of being concrete blocks. This was attributed to the reduction in the water ab-
recycled (Rao et al., 2007). According to Huang et al. (2018), the reuse sorption as well as porosity of the RCA. Hence, the replacement levels
rate is even less than 5% in China, and this is due to the inherent fea- could be further increased to 75% and 85% for fine and coarse ag-
tures of recycled concrete waste which include being porous, of rela- gregate, respectively using carbonated RCA in concrete blocks (Xuan
tively low density, low strength and having high water absorption (see et al., 2016a, 2016b).
Table 1). However, when C&D waste is properly separated, crushed and
screened, as well as treated with CO2 or pozzolanic slurry, the produced

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

Table 1
The physical properties and appearance of waste materials.

(continued on next page)

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

Table 1 (continued)

(continued on next page)

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

Table 1 (continued)

Remark: * indicates fineness modulus value with no metric unit.

2.2. Crushed brick waste researchers in recycling brick waste in concrete blocks. Although cru-
shed (fire-burnt clay) bricks generally have lower density and strength
Bricks are the dominant materials in residential construction and and higher water absorption than natural aggregates (as summarized in
are estimated to remain the second most important building material Table 1), it has the advantage of having good fire resistance which can
after concrete (Adamson et al., 2015). At present, the annual output of benefit the resulting concrete blocks.
bricks in the world is about 1391 billion pieces, and the demand for A common trend found by researchers is that the density and
bricks is expected to continue to rise (Zhang, 2013). According to an compressive strength are reduced while water absorption is increased
industry survey (Venta and Eng, 1998), for 1 ton of new bricks pro- upon inclusion of crushed bricks as an aggregate replacement in con-
duced, approximately 0.011 ton of brick waste is generated and dis- crete blocks, due to the properties of lower intrinsic strength, higher
posed of into landfills. At the same time, a large amount of brick waste water absorption and lower density of crushed bricks (Xiao et al., 2011,
is generated during the demolition of old buildings and process of 2013; Poon and Chan, 2006). Xiao et al. (2011) investigated the fea-
making new bricks. Thus, there is an increasing interest among sibility of replacing sand and recycled concrete aggregate as fine and

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

blocks. Thus, the suggested replacement level of coarse and fine ag-
gregate with crushed bricks should be less than 25% and between 50%
and 75%, respectively. A similar optimum range was also reported
earlier by Poon and Chan (2006) for concrete paving blocks. The range
suggested by researchers also indicates that concrete paving blocks
perform better when crushed bricks are incorporated as a fine aggregate
replacement compared to coarse aggregate replacement. Also, Ganjian
et al. (2015) and Poon and Chan (2006) reported a decrease in the
performance of concrete blocks such as splitting tensile strength and
weathering resistance when crushed bricks were used as a coarse ag-
gregate replacement. It was also found that the use of fly ash could
significantly reduce the water absorption of concrete paving blocks
made of crushed bricks, due to the filler effect of the finer fly ash,
though this partially compromised the skid resistance as a more
homogenous mix with a smoother surface was produced in the presence
of fly ash (Poon and Chan, 2006). However, attention needs to be given
to the use of fly ash in building wall blocks as there could be a risk
associated with the increase in indoor radon concentrations (Man and
Yeung, 1997).
Because of the good thermal resistance of brick aggregates, it is
imperative to assess the performance of concrete blocks made using
waste bricks at elevated temperatures. From Fig. 3, it is interesting to
note that concrete blocks containing crushed brick aggregate could
retain more strength at elevated temperatures of 300–500 °C than an
ambient temperature of 20 °C (Xiao et al., 2013), and blocks with
25–50% and 50–75% of fine brick aggregate content displayed the
highest strength. This may be attributed to two reasons: the higher
temperature resistance of the brick aggregate itself as pure clay bricks
could attain twice its original strength at more than 400 °C, and as some
unhydrated cement phase may undergo additional hydration at high
temperatures (Xiao et al., 2013). When a block was exposed to 800 °C,
Fig. 1. Strength versus % replacement level of limestone aggregate with coarse the compressive strength was lower than the initial strength (at ambient
and fine RCA. temperature), yet could retain 62–75% of its original strength. All the
(Sourced from Soutsos et al., 2011a). results point to a potential application of the blocks containing crushed
clay brick for fire resistance under high temperature conditions (Xiao
coarse aggregates, respectively using crushed brick aggregates to pro- et al., 2013).
duce partition wall blocks. Although the compressive strength of blocks
was reduced with higher content of crushed brick aggregate, the com-
bination of different types of fine aggregates (derived from RCA and 2.3. Soda lime glass waste
waste bricks) could provide better strength since the finer crushed brick
particles could fill the voids and reduced the porosity of the concrete According to Ling et al. (2013b), about 373 tons of (soda lime) glass

Fig. 2. Schematic drawing of the CO2 curing setup for concrete blocks.
(Sourced from Zhan et al., 2013; Zhan et al., 2016b).

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

Fig. 3. Residual compressive strength of block specimens containing fine brick aggregate as a sand replacement.
(Sourced from Xiao et al., 2013).

waste is generated daily in Hong Kong, and only about 10% of the resistance of concrete blocks with crushed glass as a partial fine ag-
waste glass is recycled and reused. The low recycling rate is mainly due gregate replacement, Turgut and Yahlizade (2009) reported that there
to the lack of glass manufacturing industries and the difficulty of the was a decrease in the abrasion resistance beyond a fine aggregate re-
collection process (Ling et al., 2013b). Since glass waste contains a high placement level of 20%.
amount of silica (over 70%) (see Table 1), coupled with its unique Since crushed glass is rich in silica (amorphous), the alkali-silica
features of low water absorption, stability, high hardness, imperme- reaction (ASR) in concrete block containing crushed glass aggregate has
ability as well as inherent properties (i.e. inorganic, amorphous, etc.) also received research attention (Chen et al., 2018; Lam et al., 2007; Lee
(Chen et al., 2011; de Azevedo et al., 2017), there is potential to utilize et al., 2011). Nevertheless, Lee et al. (2011) indicated that the ASR
crushed waste glass as aggregate for value-added properties (aesthetic problem was less critical (with a reduction in expansion by up to 44%)
effect and self-cleaning) in the manufacture of concrete blocks, though in dry-mixed concrete blocks compared to wet-mixed concrete as the
the alkali-silica reaction should be adequately controlled with the aid of ASR expansive pressure can be accommodated by a higher inter-
certain admixtures. connected porosity in dry-mixed concrete. It was also noted that the
Incorporation of crushed glass was found to cause a slight reduction finer particle size of glass aggregate could reduce the possibility of ASR
in the density of concrete blocks, as reported in a few works (Lee et al., as a result of the pozzolanic reactivity (Lee et al., 2011). Additionally,
2013; Chen et al., 2018) and this is mainly due to the lower density of the ASR in crushed glass concrete blocks can be effectively remediated
crushed glass compared to conventional aggregates. According to Lee with the use of an optimum amount of supplementary cementitious
et al. (2013), generally the inclusion of glass as a fine aggregate re- materials such as metakaolin (Lee et al., 2011), fly ash (Lam et al.,
placement also lowers the compressive strength of concrete blocks, 2007) and sewage sludge ash (Chen et al., 2018).
particularly at higher replacement levels. This was attributed to the One of the advantageous properties of incorporating crushed glass
decrease in aggregate-cement bond caused by the smooth and im- as a fine aggregate replacement in concrete blocks is the effectiveness in
permeable surface of the glass particles. Additionally, Chen et al. (2018) activating titanium dioxide to achieve a self-cleaning function (Chen
suggested that the irregular shape of crushed glass could reduce the and Poon, 2009; Poon and Cheung, 2007). The capability of removing
compactness and subsequently the strength of concrete blocks. How- nitric oxide (NO) can be improved as the crushed glass transmits more
ever, reducing the particle size (< 0.6 mm) of the crushed glass ag- light to reach a greater depth from the concrete’s surface layer, acti-
gregate could enhance the compressive strength due to possible poz- vating the titanium dioxide in the interior portion of the surface layer
zolanic activity (Lee et al., 2013). This was also similarly reflected in (Fig. 4). This is obvious because glass is a transparent material which
the research by Turgut and Yahlizade (2009) whereby the inclusion of allows light transmission through the particles. In fact, the NO removal
20% crushed glass as a fine aggregate replacement was found to in- efficiency in blocks made with crushed glass is three times higher than
crease the mechanical properties of the concrete blocks such as com- that of blocks made with normal sand. In addition, clear glass was
pressive, flexural and splitting tensile strengths by 69%, 90% and 47%, found to exhibit better photocatalytic activity than dark colored (dark,
respectively. The long-term compressive strength of concrete blocks green, brown) glass due to the better light transmission properties
with incorporated glass could also be improved through the in- (Chen and Poon, 2009).
corporation of an optimum amount of supplementary cementitious
materials such as fly ash (Lam et al., 2007) and sewage sludge ash
(Chen et al., 2018). 2.4. Cathode ray tube (CRT) glass waste
In terms of the water absorption of concrete blocks, a decreasing
trend was observed when crushed glass was utilized as an aggregate Cathode ray tube (CRT) glass waste is mostly obtained from old
replacement and this is mainly due to the hydrophobic nature and low television and computer monitor screens. In 2010 alone, more than
water absorption of glass (Chen et al., 2018; Lam et al., 2007). Further 2600 tons of old televisions were thrown away by families and cor-
reduction in water absorption could also be achieved by using fly ash porations in Hong Kong (Ling and Poon, 2014a). In mainland China, the
and sewage sludge ash as a partial cement replacement material. While generation of CRT waste was about 43 million tons in 2013 (Lee et al.,
Lam et al. (2007) did not observe a significant difference in the abrasion 2016). According to Yoshida et al. (2016) the global CRT disposal is
expected to achieve its peak in the next few years (2015–2020). This

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

Fig. 4. Pathways of light and activation of TiO2 in a concrete block’s surface layer using glass as aggregates.
(Sourced from Chen and Poon, 2009).

drives the government to find a suitable solution for the disposal of CRT with the use of crushed glass aggregate in earlier studies (Chen and
waste. Due to its dense and radiation shielding properties (associated Poon, 2009; Gou et al., 2012). As compared with transparent (soda
with the lead content) as well as impermeable property are similar to lime) glass, darker colored CRT associated with the lead content slightly
that of soda lime glass, the recycling of CRT waste as a possible sub- decreased the penetration of light for photo-catalysis. Besides this, Ling
stitute for conventional fine aggregates in concrete blocks was explored and Poon (2014b) found that CRT blocks exhibit significantly better X-
previously. However, the high percentage of PbO (20%–25%) (Lee ray radiation-shielding performance than normal concrete blocks. Due
et al., 2004) also necessitates pre-treatment of the crushed CRT glass to the presence of lead in CRT which actively interacts with X-rays, the
using acid treatment and water washing prior to usage in concrete energy and radiation penetration depth can be reduced (Ling and Poon,
blocks (Ling and Poon, 2014a, 2014b). 2014b). As shown in Fig. 5, the radiation-shielding ability improves as
Due to the presence of lead compounds in CRT waste and higher the CRT content increases up to 100% in the concrete block (Ling et al.,
density compared to normal aggregate, the density of concrete blocks 2013a). In fact, the material required for CRT concrete blocks to reduce
produced is usually higher than blocks without CRT (Ling and Poon, the X-ray dose rate by one-half was only about 42% compared to that of
2014a, 2014b). Additionally, the water absorption of concrete blocks normal concrete block (Ling and Poon, 2014b). Therefore, they sug-
made with CRT fine aggregate was found to reduce as the CRT exhibits gested that it may be practical and economic to utilize the radiation-
impermeable properties (Ling and Poon, 2014a, 2014b). This also ex- shielding capabilities of CRT concrete blocks for medical diagnostic
plains the reported lower drying shrinkage of CRT blocks as a lower room construction.
amount of water is evaporated during the drying process (Ling and
Poon, 2014a, 2014b). Similar to the use of crushed glass, inclusion of
CRT waste as a fine aggregate replacement in concrete blocks causes 2.5. Crumb rubber waste
their compressive strength to decrease, and this was primarily attrib-
uted to the weak aggregate-cement interface bond because of the Crumb rubber is generally produced from scrap tires by cutting and
smooth surface of CRT (Ling and Poon, 2014a). It is also worth noting grinding into a granular shape. Crumb rubber generally consists of
that the inclusion of CRT makes a certain contribution towards the later particles ranging in size from 0.5 mm to 5 mm (Siddique and Naik,
strength gain of concrete blocks due to the pozzolanic activity of the 2004). In the United States, more than 299 million scrap tires are
very fine CRT particles present in the mix (Ling and Poon, 2014a). The generated annually and about 188 million tires have been stockpiled
results also indicated that 50% content of CRT in concrete paving
blocks did not result in a significant compressive strength loss and even
with 100% CRT content, the concrete block produced could satisfy the
strength requirement of 45 MPa. Besides this, the high silica content of
CRT waste has enthused researchers to investigate the ASR of the re-
sulting concrete blocks and it was found that generally the ASR ex-
pansion was below the maximum limit of 0.1% (Ling and Poon, 2014a,
2014b). Ling and Poon (2014a) added that the inclusion of 25% fly ash
to replace cement could effectively restrict ASR expansion while an-
other study (Ling and Poon, 2014b) revealed that the amount of ex-
pansion was lower for the case of non-load bearing concrete blocks
compared to load bearing blocks due to the higher porosity of the
Among the interesting features of CRT concrete blocks is the ef-
fective combination with titanium dioxide to exhibit self-cleaning
properties by removal of NO (Ling and Poon, 2014a). With an increase
of CRT content, the capability of removal of NO gradually increased.
Fig. 5. Comparison of radiation-shielding thickness of non-load bearing con-
When using 100% CRT incorporated in concrete paving blocks, the
crete blocks (NLCB) with 1-mm lead rubber at 0%, 50% and 100% CRT content.
capacity was enhanced by 7%, which was also similarly demonstrated
(Sourced from Ling and Poon, 2014b).

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

need for higher compressibility and thereby increase the rejection rate
in commercial block making plants (Ling, 2012). The limitation of using
CR in concrete blocks, though, is the reduction of abrasion and skid
resistance; the reduction of resistance was found to be greater with
higher content of the CR aggregate replacement level (Sukontasukkul
and Chaikaew, 2006; Ling et al., 2010; Ling, 2011). However, it was
found that the use of finer crumb rubber (1–3 mm) can provide slightly
better skid resistance of concrete paving blocks (Ling et al., 2009).
Ling (2011) developed a prediction model for estimating the density
and compressive strength of concrete blocks made with a different
range of crumb rubber percentage and w/c ratios. The results indicated
that there is a logarithmic relationship between strength reduction
factor and the rubber content for all w/c ratios, the coefficients varying
Fig. 6. Microstructure of crumb rubber concrete mixture (fine aggregate (FA) from 0.84 to 0.96 after 28 days of curing. A very strong linear re-
and coarse aggregate (CA) (Sourced from Mohammed et al., 2012). lationship with a coefficient of 0.99 between the density reduction
factors and the rubber content for all w/c ratios was also observed.
according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). The RMA The greatest benefit of using CR in concrete blocks is reported to be
also estimated that 477 thousand tons of scrap tires were land disposed the enhanced insulation properties such as thermal and sound insula-
in 2005 (Rubber Manufacturers Association, 2005). As the waste tires tion. When compared with traditional concrete blocks, CR concrete
are not readily biodegradable, the prolonged landfilling and accumu- blocks have low thermal conductivity, better sound absorption and a
lation of large amounts of the waste tires pose serious environmental higher noise reduction coefficient (Mohammed et al., 2012). This is
concerns. However, due to the unique and desirable characteristics such mainly due to the low thermal conductivity (Mohammed et al., 2012) as
as low density, better sound insulation, higher impact strength and well as the porous surface layer of the CR particles (Ling et al., 2010).
toughness, crumb rubber (CR) produced from waste tires could be in- Besides this, CR concrete blocks were found to exhibit more ductile
corporated to take advantage of these features to enhance the perfor- behavior compared to normal concrete blocks. Due to the high de-
mance of the resulting concrete blocks. formability of CR aggregates, the toughness of a block can be improved
As rubber has a lower density than normal aggregate (as indicated as larger quantities of energy can be absorbed by the concrete block
in Table 1), a partial replacement of coarse and fine aggregate with CR before failure (Ling, 2011).
could produce lighter concrete blocks (Sodupe-Ortega et al., 2016;
Mohammed et al., 2012; Ling et al., 2009, Ling, 2011). The entrapped 2.6. Ceramic and tile industry waste
air voids on the surface of CR particles (see Fig. 6) also contribute to the
lower density of the concrete blocks (Sodupe-Ortega et al., 2016; There is a growing interest in using ceramic and tile industry waste
Mohammed et al., 2012; Sukontasukkul and Chaikaew, 2006). More- as alternative materials for construction (Wattanasiriwech et al., 2009).
over, the formation of the air voids besides the inherent softness and Ceramics are commonly produced from clay upon firing to high tem-
low stiffness of CR was reasoned to reduce the compressive strength of peratures exceeding 1200 °C; therefore, the resulting products exhibit
the concrete block, particularly when there is an increased amount of desirable properties, such as high strength, high abrasion resistance,
CR used (Sodupe-Ortega et al., 2016). However, Ling (2012) suggested chemical inertness, long service life, and heat and fire resistance
that incorporation of 10% CR could enhance the compressive strength (Medina et al., 2012). Some of the basic physical properties are shown
of concrete paving blocks and this was attributed to the deformability of in Table 1. Few research works have focused on utilizing ceramic waste
CR particles which could effectively fill voids upon the release of the as aggregate in concrete blocks, since the advantageous features of
compaction force during the production process (Fig. 7). Based on la- ceramic waste include high strength, durability and chemical resistance
boratory trials, Mohammed et al. (2012) recommended a maximum CR (Torkittikul and Chaipanich, 2010).
replacement limit at 6.5% and 40.7% to satisfy the compressive Based on literature, the inclusion of ceramic tile waste (Sadek and
strength requirements for load bearing and non-load bearing concrete Nouhy, 2014) and tile polishing waste (Penteado et al., 2016) as a sand
blocks, respectively. Sodupe-Ortega et al. (2016) and Ling (2012) sug- replacement seems to contribute to enhancement of the compressive
gested the maximum CR content to be 10% to avoid collapse of concrete strength of concrete blocks. This is thought to be due to the rougher and
blocks upon the stripping process in concrete block-making plants. In- angular shape of ceramic waste particles which enhances the interfacial
creasing the CR content beyond 10% would result in cracks due to the bonding with cement paste (Sadek and Nouhy, 2014). In contrast, when

Fig. 7. Mechanism behavior between soft rubber and solid particles (a) under compaction force and (b) once released from the force.
(Sourced from Ling, 2012).

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

used as a coarse aggregate replacement, a decreasing trend in the discharged and disposed of in landfills (Zhang et al., 2007). It is found
compressive strength of concrete blocks was observed (Sadek and that waste plastic accounts for 10.6% of the total stored wastes in
Nouhy, 2014). In the investigation by Penteado et al. (2016), com- landfills, of which 69.1% is plastic bags, and 30.9% is other plastic
paring the effects of several types of ceramic tile polishing wastes, wastes such as plastic bottles (Zhou et al., 2014). In Korea alone, about
namely porcelain tiles, porous tiles and stoneware tiles as a sand re- 2.2 billion PET bottles are produced annually, which represents ap-
placement levels, it was found that an increase in compressive strength proximately 87 thousand tons of PET waste (Choi et al., 2009). The low
was only observed when using porcelain tile polishing waste due to the biodegradable nature of plastic is becoming a burden on the environ-
pozzolanic activity and filler effect of the finer ceramic waste particles. ment. Nevertheless, there are certain unique characteristics of plastic
Although the use of porous tile or stoneware tile polishing waste as a such as low water permeability, good acid resistance, lightweight and
sand replacement did not cause significant change in the compressive better insulation, and hence this has led to some researchers exploring
strength, replacement levels of up to 30% of these ceramic tile polishing effective ways to reuse plastic to produce value-added eco-friendly
wastes in concrete paving blocks could achieve the standard require- concrete blocks.
ment of 50 MPa for heavy vehicle use. In terms of the water absorption Vanitha et al. (2015) examined the possibility of using waste plas-
of paving blocks, a slight decrease was found by Sadek and Nouhy tics as a partial replacement of coarse aggregate to produce concrete
(2014) and Penteado et al. (2016) when ceramic industry waste was paving blocks and concrete blocks. The results showed that when the
incorporated as a fine aggregate replacement at levels of 50% (ceramic daily used waste plastic (cut into small sizes) were mixed with concrete
waste) and up to 30% (ceramic tile polishing waste), respectively. The at different ratios of 0%–10%, the 28-day compressive strength of
reduction in the water absorption was caused by the reduced porosity paving blocks was decreased from 26.9 MPa to 14 MPa whereas for the
as a result of the filling effect due to the use of fine ceramic tile pol- case of concrete solid blocks, the strength was reduced from 23.3 MPa
ishing waste aggregate (Penteado et al., 2016). Sadek and Nouhy to 11 MPa A similar trend of compressive strength reduction was also
(2014) recommended that 50% ceramic waste fine aggregate to be in- reported by Sellakutty (2016) and Raongjant et al. (2016). Similarly,
corporated for enhancing the physical and mechanical properties of Ohemeng et al. (2014) pointed out that the mechanical strength re-
concrete paving blocks. duction was attributed to the smooth surface of plastics which weakens
the adhesion between the plastic aggregate and cement paste. However,
2.7. Marble waste it was found that an increase in the w/c ratio could minimize the
strength reduction in the presence of waste plastic aggregate. In terms
Marble with good rigidity, high hardness, wear resistance, high of water absorption, there was an obvious reduction with a low re-
temperature resistance and mainly containing CaO is generally suitable placement ratio of plastic aggregate, while at high replacement ratios
for use as building decoration materials. In the processing of marble (up to 60%), the water absorption increased due to the increase in the
such as cutting and polishing, a considerable amount (20–25% of the air content (Ohemeng et al., 2014).
total stone content) of marble waste is generated (Saboya et al., 2007). Chowdhury et al. (2013) found that concrete building blocks con-
In Turkey for example, about 1400 tons of marble waste are left over taining shredded Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) as fine aggregates
and stored each day (Topcu et al., 2009). Since stocking the large have a number of advantages, which include good weather resistance,
amount of marble waste has proved to be impossible and causes en- good sound insulation performance, better shock absorption and lighter
vironmental pollution, there is a pressing need to investigate its use in weight. It is noteworthy that the ductility of concrete blocks with
concrete blocks for its disposal and reduction of such waste (Gencel plastic waste was improved, which is associated with the chemical in-
et al., 2012). ertia of PET (Raongjant et al., 2016). Moreover, elastic deformation
Gencel et al. (2012) and Uygunoğlu et al. (2012) revealed that the easily occurs due to the low elastic modulus of plastic, indicating that
use of marble waste as a fine aggregate (less than 4 mm) substitute leads the energy absorption capacity of blocks can be improved with an in-
to the decline in compressive strength of concrete blocks. The higher creased proportion of plastic material.
the aggregate replacement level, the lower the mechanical properties of
the blocks such as compressive strength, splitting tensile strength and 2.9. Concrete slurry waste
modulus of elasticity. The strength reduction could be related to the
weak bonding between paste and marble aggregate (Gencel et al., Concrete slurry waste is a by-product from concrete manufacturing,
2012). Besides this, the water absorption of concrete blocks was found obtained from sedimentation in a plant's tank after washing out of ex-
to decrease with an increase in marble waste content, explained by the cess or rejected fresh concrete. Concrete slurry waste has high alkaline
fact that marble waste aggregate is enveloped by the cement paste, and content, porosity and water content (Kou et al., 2012). There is a large
thus decreases the discontinuity of the pore structures of the system amount of concrete slurry waste produced daily in concrete mix plants,
(Gencel et al., 2012; Uygunoğlu et al., 2012). It is noteworthy that there particularly plants with a huge demand for fresh concrete. It is esti-
is a linear relationship between the water absorption and freeze-thaw mated that fresh concrete waste is produced in the range of 1.0–4.0 wt.
resistance; all paving blocks containing marble waste were found to % of the total concrete in Europe (Correia et al., 2009) and over 120
absorb less water as well as having better resistance in freeze-thaw thousand tons/year are produced in Hong Kong (Xuan et al., 2016a,b).
cycling. However, using finer marble particles increased the demand for The most common solution is landfill disposal, which is not an en-
water and water absorption of the concrete blocks (Gencel et al., 2012). vironmentally sustainable and friendly option. Considering that the
Another beneficial effect of using marble waste aggregate in concrete slurry waste originates from concrete itself, there is good potential for
blocks is their increased abrasion resistance because of the higher re-using such waste in concrete products. When the concrete slurry
hardness of marble aggregate which is capable of protecting the softer waste is crushed into a finer size or powder form, the filling effect is
cement paste (Gencel et al., 2012). similar if not better than natural aggregates in concrete products.
Kou et al. (2012) explored the feasibility of using fresh concrete
2.8. Plastic waste waste (FCW) to produce partition concrete blocks. The FCW from a
ready-mixed concrete plant was crushed into a fine aggregate (< 5 mm)
Plastics are synthesized using non-renewable fossil resources that size to replace natural sand at a rate of 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%
mainly containing the elements of C H O (Areepraserta et al., 2017) and by weight. The results showed that with the increase of FCW content,
are one of the major consumer goods in human society. Plastics are the water absorption increased and the density decreased due to the
mainly used in agriculture, commodities, construction and the manu- lower specific gravity of FCW. Although the drying shrinkage values of
facturing industry, resulting in large amounts of waste plastics being the partition blocks was increased, the shrinkage limit stipulated in BS

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

that the density increased and water absorption decreased due to the
filling effect and all blocks tested could meet the standard requirements
(< 6%), while at the same time the weather resistance of the blocks was
also improved. In addition, it is noteworthy that the heavy metal (e.g.
chromium, lead and zinc) concentration can be minimized due to ce-
ment-based solidification and stabilization. The suitable replacement
ratio was suggested to be 12.5% for laboratory mixes, while a higher
replacement ratio of up to 19% is applicable for factory mixes as a
result of the higher efficiency of compaction and vibration in the fac-
tory. Wang et al. (2017) used binary magnesium oxide cement and
adopted CO2 curing to improve the compressive strength and minimize
the high-water absorption issue of paving blocks containing sediment
waste. It was found that this technique is efficient due to the reaction
between magnesium oxide cement and CO2 which transforms the so-
luble magnesium hydrate into stable carbonates, resulting in a denser
microstructure and less porous paving blocks.
Textile effluent sludge (TES) is a by-product of sewage treatment,
Fig. 8. Relative compressive strength of blocks with different content of re-
cycled fine aggregate (RF) after exposure to different temperatures.
composed of organic fragments, bacteria, inorganic particles and col-
(Sourced from Kou et al., 2012). loid. There is an increase in textile effluent sludge produced due to
rapid industrialization and urbanization. TES is usually finer than 5 mm
in size (as stated in Table 1) as well as having high moisture and organic
6073-1 (< 0.06% after 14 days) could be met (BS 6073-1, 2008).
content. Zhan and Poon (2015) studied the usage of the TES waste
In terms of mechanical strength, partition blocks can be enhanced
obtained from the textile industry in concrete blocks. After pre-treat-
with the use of FCW, and can be explained by: firstly, FCW aggregate
ment of the TES waste by drying at 105 °C for 24 h and mixing with
contains unreacted cement which undergoes a hydration reaction to
lime, the results showed that the concrete blocks produced with a lower
improve strength; secondly, the rougher surface and filler effect of FCW
amount of TES (less than 5%) and ammonia concentration had sa-
can enhance the bond strength; thirdly, the higher water absorption of
tisfactory compressive strength and achieved better drying shrinkage
FCW aggregate significantly reduces the internal bleed water of parti-
and volumetric stability. When the TES content in the concrete block
tion blocks and makes the interfacial transition zone more compact
was increased to about 10%, the concrete blocks could still satisfy the
(Kou et al., 2012). It was also noted that the compressive strength of
minimum strength requirement for non-load-bearing applications. In
blocks was increased when exposed to elevated temperature of 300 °C
line with this result, de Azevedo et al. (2018) also suggested that the
(Fig. 8). This is particularly noteworthy in concrete blocks containing
replacement level should not exceed 10%. At the same time, by in-
25% FCW aggregate. The possible reason for such occurrence is the
corporating the TES in cement-based concrete blocks, the trace toxic
accelerated hydration of the additional cement particles present in the
metals in the textile sludge can be stabilized and solidified.
FCW upon exposure of the concrete blocks to such temperatures.
Granulated blast-furnace slag (GBFS) is a by-product obtained from
However, the compressive strength decreased significantly at tem-
the process of smelting steel and iron in a blast furnace; the particle size
peratures of 500 °C and 800 °C due to the decomposition of the calcium
is generally less than 5 mm after being rapidly cooled with powerful
hydroxide and CSH (Kou et al., 2012), and such strength reduction was
water jets. Yüksel and Bilir (2007) conducted a study on the usage of
more significant in the case of blocks with FCW aggregates.
GBFS as fine aggregate to manufacture concrete paving blocks. It was
In order to evaluate the environmental impacts of re-using concrete
found that at low GBFS content of up to 30%, although the water ab-
slurry waste (CSW), Hossain et al. (2017) studied the life cycle assess-
sorption ratio increased, the compressive strength and freeze-thaw re-
ment of eco-friendly partition concrete wall blocks containing CSW as
sistance decreased. However, these reductions in performance were
fine aggregates. Compared to normal partition wall blocks, approxi-
below the limiting values stipulated in standards. As shown in Fig. 9, it
mately 40% lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, 58% lower ozone
is interesting to note that at more than a 30% replacement level, the
layer depletion, 47% lower acidification potential and 41% lower
compressive strength gradually increased as compaction can be applied
PM2.5 was found. This is mainly due to using CSW which requires a
more efficiently in paving block specimens. Compressive strength si-
shorter transportation distance than natural aggregates and reduced
milar to the control concrete block specimen could be attained when
amount of ordinary Portland cement usage. Besides this, the ability of
the GBFS replacement level was between 60% and 80%. In terms of the
capturing and storing CO2 in concrete blocks accelerates mineral car-
freeze-thaw resistance, it was reported that the suitable GBFS replace-
bonation and facilitates faster strength gain.
ment ratio in the concrete block was 50%, and at this replacement level,
the abrasion resistance could be enhanced as 28.6% reduction in the
2.10. Other wastes surface abrasion was reported when compared with the reference spe-
Apart from waste materials as discussed in previous sections, there
are some other industrial by-products and waste materials which have 3. Summary
also been used in concrete blocks, such as sediment waste, effluent
sludge and combustion waste. These wastes, although available com- Based on the review of using alternative waste materials as ag-
monly, have only recently garnered research interest for use in concrete gregate in concrete blocks, it has been found that different types of
blocks and therefore the investigations carried out are mainly in pre- waste exhibit their own unique characteristics, and these features en-
liminary stages. hance certain properties, which gives added value to concrete blocks.
Marine sediments are formed by the precipitation of materials such Table 2 summarizes the features of the waste materials, optimum per-
as detrital, biogenic and authigenic deposits in harbors, channels, and centage of the waste materials recommended to incorporate into con-
rivers (Ali et al., 2014). Said et al. (2015) investigated the use of marine crete blocks and the general effects on the properties of concrete blocks.
sediments which were dried and crushed as part of a sand substitute As reflected in Table 2, some of the wastes such as recycled con-
with different percentages ranging from 12.5% to 100% for the pro- crete, crushed brick, soda lime glass, CRT glass, crushed ceramics,
duction of paving blocks in laboratories and factories. It was reported plastic and GBFS waste can be used for high volume replacement

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

Fig. 9. Compressive strength of a concrete paving block at different GBFS/Sand ratio (Modified from Yüksel and Bilir, 2007).

(ranging from 50 to 100%) of natural aggregates in concrete blocks. For intrinsically low strength and a porous structure. However, even at
instance, recycled concrete aggregate can fully replace coarse aggregate low replacement levels, most of these wastes can be valorized to
in concrete blocks for enhanced all-round performance upon CO2 produce different kinds of value-added concrete blocks, owing to the
curing, whereas to improve fire resistance of blocks a high volume of unique features of each of the wastes.
crushed brick, concrete slurry and marble waste can be utilized. Either 2 Compressive strength is the most important mechanical property of
soda lime glass or CRT glass both can be used for 100% fine aggregate concrete blocks, which can be greatly enhanced by using wastes
replacement in concrete blocks and both exhibit superior performance which have a reasonable portion of fine particles, such as ceramic
in activating titanium oxide compounds for self-cleaning purposes. and tile waste, concrete slurry waste, soda lime glass (if the particle
Discarded crumb rubber, marble waste, concrete slurry, marine sedi- size is less than 0.6 mm), and marine sediment waste (after CO2
ment and textile effluent sludge wastes should be controlled below 30% curing) as natural aggregate replacement. The combination of these
due to their poor inherent properties (i.e. low strength, high con- wastes (i.e. fine ceramic tile waste and soda lime glass) with fly ash
centration of water, etc.). However, the inherent lightweight and ex- could even give encouraging results.
cellent flexible characteristics of crumb rubber can significantly en- 3 In terms of value-added applications, crushed bricks, marble waste
hance the toughness and insulation properties of concrete blocks. From and concrete slurry waste can improve the high temperature re-
another perspective concerning usage, cement-based concrete blocks sistance of concrete blocks for use particularly in partition walls. As
are also excellent in regard to stabilizing and solidifying heavy metals far as the insulation (sound and thermal) properties are concerned,
of certain wastes (i.e. sediment waste, CRT glass, etc.). In a way, the part of the natural aggregate can be replaced by lightweight crumb
cement-based concrete blocks could provide a more effective treatment rubber and plastic waste aggregate. In contrast, the higher density of
solution for such wastes compared to conventional methods. CRT glass is more suitable for application in such area as medical
diagnostic rooms which require X-ray radiation-shielding char-
4. Conclusion acteristics.
4 For pavement application, wastes such as crumb rubber, plastic and
The utilization of waste materials as an aggregate replacement in GBFS can be used to enhance the abrasion, skid and freeze-thaw
concrete blocks has the beneficial environmental effects of reducing resistance of concrete paving blocks. The use of marine sediment
existing solid waste and lowering the consumption of natural resources waste can also promote better weathering resistance of the blocks.
commonly used as aggregates. Moreover, due to the unique features of Most interestingly, a better photocatalytic property of concrete
various types of wastes, concrete blocks adhering to standard require- paving blocks for air purifying and nitric oxide removal application
ments with value-added performance can be produced. Based on the in dense trafficking areas, can be achieved by incorporating waste
review of alternative wastes, the following conclusions can be drawn: glass cullets.

1 In terms of aggregate replacement ratio of wastes in concrete blocks, In short, the incorporation of waste materials as an aggregate sub-
materials such as recycled concrete, crushed brick, soda lime glass, stitute has great potential for producing eco-friendly value-added con-
CRT glass, ceramic and tile waste, plastic waste, and GBFS waste can crete blocks. Although the unique characteristics of each waste gives
be used in large quantities (50–100%), mainly due to their proper- concrete blocks value-added performance, precaution must be taken to
ties which include high hardness, high strength, chemical inertness, limit certain degrading effects due to the use of these wastes, and this
etc. Therefore, these wastes are among the most popular recycled can be achieved through optimum content selection as well as proper
materials used in concrete blocks and could reduce the demand for treatment. Also, if considering the use of wastes for the mass production
natural aggregate in the concrete blocks industry, whereas for of concrete blocks, there is a need to evaluate the consistency and
crumb rubber, marble waste, concrete slurry, marine sediment and availability of materials supply in the waste streams as well as the
textile effluent sludge wastes, their percentage level is re- distance to the concrete block manufactures.
commended to be kept at lower than 30%, as these materials have

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

Table 2
General view of optimal content of waste materials and their respective characteristics as well as the effect on the properties of concrete blocks.
Waste Materials Optimum Content Characteristics Studied concrete blocks General effects on concrete block

Recycled concrete 55–60% for coarse aggregate Relatively low intrinsic strength and Masonry block, concrete - Decrease in density
waste replacement and 20–25% for fine density, and high porosity and water hollow blocks and - Decrease in compressive strength
aggregate replacement; when treated absorption (due to the old adhered mortar) paving blocks - Increase in water absorption
with CO2, up to 100% can be used - Satisfactory durability, including freeze-
thaw resistance
- With CO2 treatment/curing,
improvement in compressive strength and
resistance to elevated temperature;
decrease in porosity and drying shrinkage
Crushed brick 50–75% for coarse aggregate High porosity and water absorption with Concrete floor blocks, - Decrease in density
waste replacement, and less than 25% is good fire resistance partition wall blocks and - Decrease in mechanical strength (e.g.
recommended for fine aggregate paving blocks compression, splitting tensile)
- Decrease in weathering resistance
- Increase in water absorption
- Increase in residual strength after
exposure to elevated temperatures
Soda lime glass Only suitable for fine aggregate Contains high silica content similar to that Concrete partition wall - Decrease in density
waste replacement and 20–100% is of sand, brittle, smooth surface texture, blocks and paving blocks - Decrease in compressive strength (the
recommended nearly impermeable (∼zero water reduction can be partially compensated for
absorption), high hardness and by using finer particles and other
aesthetically pleasing pozzolans such as fly ash and sewage
sludge ash)
- Decrease in water absorption
- Decrease in drying shrinkage
- Decrease in abrasion resistance
- Increase in photocatalytic activity for
self-cleaning performance due to NO
Cathode ray tube After treated with acid solution, High density (due to the presence of lead), Concrete partition wall - Decrease in compressive strength
(CRT) glass 100% can be used as a fine aggregate smooth surface, near zero water absorption blocks and paving blocks - Decrease in water absorption
waste replacement and transparent feature - Decrease in drying shrinkage
- Increase in density
- Increase in radiation-shielding ability
- Increase in photocatalytic reactivity with
the presence of TiO2
Crumb rubber Only 10% or lower percentage is Low density, better sound insulation, Paving blocks, - Decrease in density
waste recommended as a fine aggregate higher deformability, high toughness and pedestrian blocks and - Decrease in compressive strength
replacement impact resistance hollow concrete blocks - Decrease in stiffness
- Decrease in abrasion resistance
- Increase in thermal insulation
- Increase in sound insulation
- Increase in ductility
- Increase in skid resistance
Ceramic and tile Between 30% and 50% is High strength, rough surface, high abrasion Paving blocks - Decrease in density
waste recommended resistance, chemical inertness, fire and - Decrease in water absorption
electrical resistance - Increase in compressive strength (as fine
Marble waste A maximum of 10% is recommended Good rigidity and hardness, high abrasion Interlocking concrete - Decrease in density
resistance, small temperature deformation blocks and paving blocks - Decrease in mechanical strength (e.g.
compression, splitting tensile, modulus of
- Decrease in water absorption
- Increase in abrasion resistance
- Increase in frost resistance
Plastic waste Between 2% and 50% is Low density, smooth surface and low Concrete blocks, - Decrease in density
recommended as a fine aggregate permeability, good acid resistance, sound pavement concrete - Decrease in mechanical strength (e.g.
replacement insulating, and not easily biodegradable blocks and lightweight compression, splitting tensile and flexural)
concrete blocks - Decrease in water absorption
- Increase in ductility
- Increase in weather resistance
- Increase in sound insulation
- Increase in shock absorption
Concrete slurry A maximum of 30% is recommended High alkalinity, porosity and water Partition wall blocks - Decrease in density
waste absorption - Increase in water absorption
- Increase in drying shrinkage
- Increase in residual strength after
exposure to elevated temperatures
Marine sediment Around 20% as an optimum High porosity and contains impurities Paving blocks - Decrease in water absorption
waste percentage is recommended - Increase in density
- Increase in mechanical strength (after
CO2 curing)
- Increase in weathering resistance
The usage should be limited to 10% High ammonia content Concrete blocks
(continued on next page)

Y. Meng et al. Resources, Conservation & Recycling 138 (2018) 298–312

Table 2 (continued)

Waste Materials Optimum Content Characteristics Studied concrete blocks General effects on concrete block

Textile effluent - Decrease in dry shrinkage

sludge waste - Decrease in compressive strength
- Decrease in leachability of heavy metals
Granulated blast- Up to 50% can be used as a fine High water absorption and possesses Concrete paving blocks - Decrease in freeze-thaw resistance
furnace slag aggregate replacement hydraulic reactivity - Decrease in compressive strength
waste (GBFS) - Increase in abrasion resistance
- Increase in water absorption

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