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Current issues - Climate change - Greenhouse Gas reduction strategy

Waste derived fuels & material

Since the early 1990s, the UK cement industry has been working with waste derived products to minimise its dependence on natural raw materials and fossil fuels.

Today the industry uses some 1.8 million tonnes of waste in this way. It does so provided these materials can be used safely, are of suitable technical and quality levels and meet all environmental and regulatory considerations. This lifts these materials up the waste hierarchy to energy recovery, rather than disposal by incineration or to landfill.

In terms of replacement raw materials, pulverised fuel ash from power generation remains the principal product, although the industry is keen to invest in identifying other sources. For example, scrap plasterboard from the building and construction industries is processed to provide gypsum for cement manufacture while the associated cardboard and paper may be used as a kiln fuel. In 2012 around 7.5% of raw materials were sourced from waste.

The industry has now achieved an overall 40 per cent thermal replacement of virgin fossil fuels by waste-derived materials (18% from biomass sources) and has an impressive list of wastes that it employs. Wastes include solvents, chipped and whole tyres, meat and bone meal, sewage sludge, paper and plastics.

Careful selection of raw materials and fuels sourced from waste is required to ensure that product quality is not compromised.

MPA Cement members have been working with the Environment Agency to introduce an updated waste Code of Practice that will enable cement manufacturers to accept more waste and contribute further to reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

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