Navigating our way through two security checkpoints at the RNZAF Base Ohakea, Central Environmental's latest worksite is an exciting one.
RNZAF commissioned local contracting firms Mills Albert and Fulton Hogan to demolish an old taxiway for replacement and upgrading.
That's where Central Environmental come in, taking the old solid 60-year old concrete and crushing it up for reuse as basecourse under the new taxiway and ordinance loading zone. As many in the concrete business will know, concrete gets harder with age, reaching its peak at around 50 years of age slowly finishing its hardening over time.
The taxiway was built to last and cope with heavy loads, its structure was reflective of that with over 50mm rebar reinforcing and 65mm+ stone straight from the Ohakea river, with a hefty helping of cement.
Using a breaker, a digger pockmarked the hexagonal slaps, making the concrete fracture when ripped up and helps keep it a consistent size for crushing.
Founded in 2019, Central Environmental is a new entity under the 'Central' brand, with Central Demolition being the foremost company, known across the North Island.
Ian Butcher, Managing Director, says they separated Central Environmental as it was a new business entirely focused on recycling and bettering the environment. With considerable experience in demolition works, Ian is no stranger to what waste occurs in the construction industry and saw a strong need if not demand to do something about it.
Central Environmental has been working with the local central councils; Manawatu, Palmerston North and Horizons to create a sustainably oriented way to divert construction waste from the landfill and recycle it. Based near the Manawatu Treatment plant, the business is centrally located to accept demo waste from around the area. As Ian says "Our goal is to be diverting all demolition and construction waste away from the landfill for recycling and reuse."
Turning Waste into Quality Product
Often recycled concrete and aggregate products are objected under the pretence that they're an inferior product. Ian says it's quite the opposite, "Concrete makes a really good basecourse, it locks together really well, is readily compactable and has a lot of broken faces."
Recycled products are also relatively cost-effective as they are easy to crush, can be made into a variety of sizes and highly versatile.
Products like Central's GAP65 to 20 are tested and approved by the councils as a strong base material. They are now included in the council's project documentation. These GAP products are being reused on the construction sites they come from, like at Ohakea.
As mentioned before Central Demolition is no stranger to ripping up concrete, but they will also complete civil works, usually on top of where the previous structure was. They've seen for themselves the benefit of reusing the material they had pulled down, in both cost and quality.
Mobile Plant brings Recycling to the site
Ohakea's taxiway had thousands of cubic metres of concrete to crush, rather than trucking it to and from the Crushing Plant, Central Environmental simply brought it to site for recycling. Drastically bringing down trucking costs, and obviously, the environmental footprint that brings.
One of the stars of Central Environmental's strategy, the Keestrack B4 Mobile Jaw Crusher is what they use to take waste like concrete and turn it into something useful.
Portable and powerful, the B4 is at home crushing both quarry rock and recycling materials, but also meets other requirements that Ian had in mind when choosing a plant.
"I did compare other plants and pricing, but I liked the features the B4 had, practical ones that were common-sense. Like the Jaw protection system, radio remote and PLC unit, all things that make it easy to use."
And ease of use is something Greg mentioned as a highlight when using the Plant, being the operator he's the one using it every day.
"The remote is great, I can control everything from the cab, start it up, turn it off, change the settings, and if it needs stopping there's an emergency stop button right there."
Supplying more than just machinery
As Ian mentioned earlier, they evaluated their options when buying a new plant, a major purchase for a new business. "The biggest thing for us was we knew Equip2 and the Keestrack brand are good machines with good support. We were new to crushing so getting support is very helpful."
"The induction with the machine was really good for the guys, showing them how to use the machine, but also how it works, what to look for, how to look after it."
And in addition, Equip2 also supplied their Eco-Calculator™, a tool tailored to the business that takes into account costings like: Repayments, consumables, running costs, staffing and more to produce a detailed cost report of the machine. "The calculator was really handy so we could see what it was going to cost to run so we could plan for it, but also work out product pricing ahead of time."
"I would recommend Equip2, their quick and easy to get hold of, and their support is great and well known."