Written by Alyssa Burley
AB 2355 requires, by January 1, 2017, local agencies with jurisdiction over streets or highways to either a) adopt the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) standards for recycled paving, base, sub-base and previous backfill materials, or b) publically discuss why they are not being adopted.
Currently, as long as the material meets performance criteria, the Caltrans’ Standard Specifications allow for:
- 100% recycled aggregate in road base,
- Up to 40% reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) in asphalt pavement, and
- Recycled aggregates in concrete.1,3
According to a 2012 report published by the California Geological Survey, the availability of virgin aggregate at sites with mining permits is only 34% of the 50-year demand.2
The there are three options to address the local aggregate shortage: 1) permitting additional mining sites, 2) recycle as much aggregate as possible, and 3) import.
Permitting additional local quarries is economically prudent and environmentally responsible. Local sites reduce transportation costs, miles traveled on roads, thus reducing air pollution and road maintenance costs.
Recycling aggregate is also economically prudent and environmentally responsible. It reduces the amount of waste in landfills and the amount of virgin aggregate needed to satisfy overall demand. However, recycled aggregates only account for a fraction of construction aggregates needed to satisfy the total demand.
Importing construction aggregate is a last resort option. Transportation costs increase the cost of materials and substantially increases the number of trucks on public roadways and over greater distances. This results in increased air pollution, traffic congestion and roadway maintenance costs.
AB 2355 is a start to tackling the construction aggregate shortage in California. However, more must be done to ensure virgin aggregate is produced in local markets throughout California. Permitting new sites must be a priority to ensure demand can be met in the future.
Alyssa Burley is the community outreach and marketing manager for EnviroMINE, Inc.
1Assem. Bill 812, 2011-2012 Reg. Sess, ch. 230, 2012 Cal. Stat. Retrieved from http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120AB812
2Clinkenbeard, J. P., (2012). Aggregate Sustainability in California [PDF file]. Retrieved from http://www.conservation.ca.gov/cgs/information/publications/ms/Documents/MS_52.pdf
3Mapp, A. (August 20, 2014). Assembly Analysis [PDF file]. Retrieved from http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billHistoryClient.xhtml