Concrete

Concrete
Not to be confused with cement, which is a key part of concrete, when cement (a fine powder usually made of limestone, silicon, iron and aluminium) is mixed with aggregates, such as sand or gravel, and water it creates a hard and durable material which is used worldwide. In gardening, it can be used for paving, driveways or patio, along with other purpose such as raised plant beds. 

Pros

Cons

- Highly durable and versatile. (ref)

- Concrete can be recycled and reused. (ref)

- Concretes can be purchased which have been certified, these concretes attempt to mitigate their environmental damage. See groups such as  BRE or BSI. (ref)(ref)

- Cement can be created using different materials, such as ash or clay, which helps reduce its impacts and can be an alternate to regular cement.(ref)

- Sand is one of its main ingredients, and this can have massive environmental impacts, see sand.

- Materials for concrete are depleting, sand and lime being examples. (ref) Meaning that the material is not sustainable.

- The creation of cement takes a lot of water and energy. (ref)

- Heating limestone in the creation of cement releases a lot of CO2 into the air. (ref)

- Overall, cement is responsible for around 5-8% of world CO2 emissions, (ref)(ref) buying cement will increase this amount as demand will continue. 

- A lot of water is used in the construction of concrete, and a lot of concrete is created in water stressed areas. (ref)

- The transportation of materials from multiple sources to make one product can also increase its carbon footprint dramatically, depending on the location the cement is made in the world. 

- Using concrete creates an impermeable surface, (ref) which has impacts for the soil and ecosystems underneath it. 

Concrete Summary

Concrete is an extremely strong material that can be recycled. Along with this, concrete can be certified, and this can reduce its impact on the environment, however, it is key to acknowledge that concrete has a massive impact on the planet, specifically around 5-8% of all human related CO2 production. The huge demand for concrete means there is a huge demand for its raw materials, and these are harvested at alarming rates which degrades the environment. Along with this, concrete production releases an extraordinary amount of CO2, a massive contribution to climate change. To further demonstrate the impact of concrete, the water used in the manufacturing process is enormous. Due to the massive impact of concrete, it is advised to reduce concrete usage, this can be achieved by reducing  the amount of hard landscaping in the garden, with planting beds and lawn opposed to paving can reduce the impact, and paths made from materials such as bark chips all help to reduce the environmental impact of this world. 

Wood

Concrete