California’s Concrete producers are engaged in a wide range of initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of their product and from their operations. It is enunciated in CalCIMA’s Sustainability Statement. Nationally, concrete producers have reduced their carbon footprint by 21% since 2014. These are examples of their sustainability initiatives:

  • Use of recycled concrete materials
  • Reuse of returned fresh concrete.
  • Using supplementary cementitious materials, such as fly ash, slag, and rice hulls
  • Recycling materials from waste streams, such as glass and plastic
  • Converting their mixer truck fleets to alternative fuels
  • Sequestering carbon from manufacturing operations in concrete
  • Evaluation of environmental impact in Environmental Product Declarations (EPD)

In addition, concrete producers are engaged with engineers, project owners, and specifiers to encourage more low-carbon specifications. These include:

  • Specifications that don’t over specify the amount of cement to use
  • Allow for recycled concrete materials as aggregate in a mix
  • Allow the use of returned fresh concrete in a mix
  • Encourage local governments, utilities, and others to be more accepting of recycled materials
  • Working with regulators to develop performance specifications to allow more options and combinations to achieve low-carbon solutions.

These are resources to assist with providing low-carbon concrete:

Understanding Specifications for Structural Concrete – a presentation from members of CalCIMA’s Technical Committee
Environmental Impacts of Recycled Plastic Concrete - Caltrans, Central Concrete Supply, Co., Inc, & Climate Earth, 2013
FHWA on Concrete Recycling
A Comprehensive Literature Review of Using Recycled Concrete Aggregates in Concrete Pavement - Caltrans & California Pavement Preservation Center, CSU Chico, 2019
The Top Ten Ways to Reduce Concrete’s Carbon Footprint
Guide to Improving Specifications for Ready Mixed Concrete
Quantifying and Reducing the Carbon Footprint of a Concrete Building

National Ready Mixed Concrete Association – Sustainability
NEU - American Concrete Institute Center of Excellence for Carbon Neutral Concrete
MIT - Concrete Sustainability Hub
California Nevada Cement Association – Achieving Carbon Neutrality for California Cement Products
Incorporating the Effect of Carbonation in Concrete Life Cycle Assessment