Recycling Unrecycled Plastic and Composite Wastes as Concrete Reinforcement

Nicholas Scarpitti, Nicholas Gavio, Alexander Pol, Seyed Hamid Reza Sanei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The land disposal of waste material is a major environmental threat, and recycling efforts must be exponentially improved to mitigate it. In this paper, a feasibility study was conducted to reinforce concrete with waste materials that are not typically recycled. Compression testing was performed to evaluate the mechanical properties of the concrete specimens. The results were compared with a conventional wire mesh reinforcement used in concrete. Alternative reinforcements that are typically disposed of in landfill were used, namely, plastic regrind, carbon fiber scraps, tempered glass, coarse aggregates, and wire mesh. For each reinforcement type, four specimens were manufactured to evaluate the consistency of the results. Cylindrical specimens with ASME standard dimensions of 10.16 cm × 20.32 cm were tested using a Tinius-Olsen compression testing machine after seven days of curing. A constant strain rate of 0.25 MPa/s was applied until a load drop of 30% was detected. The results show that, while the recycled reinforcements had lower compressive strengths than the wire mesh, they maintained a load-carrying capacity of more than 80%. A major improvement was observed in terms of the ductility and toughness of the reinforced concretes. The recycled-carbon-fiber-reinforced specimens showed 12% strain at failure, a major improvement in concrete ductility. The findings of this research indicate that such recycled particles and fibers without any post-processing can be used in the reinforcement of concrete, with a significant improvement in ductility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11
JournalJournal of Composites Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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