Cement production: An untapped waste management solution

08/07/2016

Brussels, 8 July 2016 - In the European Union, just over half of the waste we all generate is recycled, 13% is used for energy recovery but 35% is still disposed of, mostly in landfills.

A report by Ecofys has clarified the role cement plants across the European Union can play and how they can be part of European and national waste management policies. In the production of cement, the cement industry uses millions of tonnes of waste as alternative fuel and alternative raw material. This processing of waste while producing cement is commonly referred to as co-processing.

By using its existing installations for the intake of waste, the cement industry does not only offer a solution for waste which cannot be either reused or recycled, it also avoids the need for Member States to invest in additional capacity. Based on the analysis by Ecofys, Member States could, already now, save between €9-16 billion by utilising existing capacity in the cement industry, an amount that corresponds to investment required for the construction of new waste-to-energy incinerators.

Today, the cement industry has the technical potential to replace 60% of its fuels with waste and, in the future, this percentage can rise to 95%. Taking into account the amount of waste which is generated in the EU each year, the good use put to this growing amount of waste by the cement industry is a unique opportunity for waste management.

The Ecofys study has focused on three countries to illustrate progressive stages of waste market development, namely Greece, Poland and Germany. It clearly shows that, as Member States improve the way in which waste follows the higher ranks of the waste hierarchy and reduce their dependency on landfills, waste-to-energy options will increasingly play a role for residual waste.

This report, commissioned by CEMBUREAU, has been developed in order to provide information on how the European cement industry can contribute to the EU Energy Union Strategy by showing the potential waste uptake of existing cement plants across the EU with benefits on fossil fuel savings, CO2 emissions mitigation, resource efficiency, and the circular economy.

About CEMBUREAU: The European Cement Association based in Brussels is the representative organisation of the cement industry in Europe. Currently, its Full Members are the national cement industry associations and cement companies of the European Union (with the exception of Cyprus, Malta and Slovakia) plus Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Croatia and Serbia are Associate Members of CEMBUREAU. A cooperation agreement exists with Cyprus.

CONTACT: Jessica JOHNSON, Communications Director - aj.johnson@cembureau.eu - Tel: + 32 2 234 10 45