On 2 December 2015, the European Commission adopted its ambitious Circular Economy Package, which is expected to help Europe to become more resource efficient.
The package has been welcomed by Europe’s cement producers’ association, CEMBUREAU, which sees the step as essential in recycling and reusing waste from various sectors as inputs or fuels in other industrial processes such as the manufacture of cement. At present the cement industry uses alternative fuels for 38.8 per cent of its fuel mix.
“Furthermore, we welcome the emphasis put on the need for sorting systems for construction and demolition waste [C&DW],” states Karl Downey, CEMBUREAU Sustainable Construction Manager. “Fortunately for concrete, recycling is not technically difficult, but better processes for demolition, collection and sorting of C&DW will help to provide a consistent supply of good quality material from C&DW.”
In addition, the organisation believes more action should be taken to ban the landfilling of recyclable and recoverable waste and points out the ability of cement kilns to use the waste as fuel. As highlighted by Vagner Maringolo, CEMBUREAU Environment & Resources Manager, “existing cement plants that co-process waste should be taken in consideration as a waste treatment solution for residual waste from landfills before funding and developing unnecessary excessive capacity”.
Other elements of the package supported by the cement industry include the promotion of industrial symbiosis and the recognition of energy recovery as a waste management solution for non-recyclable waste. CEMBUREAU also welcomes the focus on assessing the environmental performance of buildings throughout their entire life cycle.