Hanson UK halved waste sent to landfill in 2016

Building materials supplier Hanson UK has halved the amount of waste sent to landfill in the past 12 months, driven by reusing and recycling more than 100,000 tonnes of controlled waste in the production of cement and asphalt.

Hanson UK, which is split into separate business lines for aggregates, concrete, asphalt and cement, provided detailed progress of its 2020 sustainability targets in the latest iteration of its sustainability report, released on Friday (14 July).

The 2017 version of the report revealed that the supplier has halved waste to landfill in 2016, forming part of an 82% reduction since 2010. Hanson UK claimed that the reduction was driven by big falls in cement, concrete and asphalt production lines.

Hanson UK’s chief executive Daniel Cooper said: “In 2017 we plan to double our capital spending with sustainability again at the core. We will be investing in numerous other projects to improve health, safety and well-being, reduce energy consumption and emissions, increase the use of recycled products and improve the efficiency and reliability of our plants.

“I am confident that the improvements we are making will quickly be reflected in demonstrable progress against our 2020 sustainability targets.”

The declines in waste to landfill were achieved alongside a 40% increase in capital investment, of which a “significant amount” was spent on projects to reduce emissions and improve efficiency at Hanson’s 300 manufacturing sites.

The 82% reduction since 2010 puts Hanson in touching distance of a 2020 target to reduce non-process waste to landfill by 85%. Targets are also in place to increase cement replacements in concrete to 45%; recycled aggregate in asphalt – excluding filler dust – to 10% and have concrete plants recycling 95% of surplus concrete.

In 2016, Hanson UK reused or recycled more than 100,000 tonnes of controlled waste, equating to 96.5% of the total waste generated. The majority of onsite waste is dealt with through a contract with waste management firm Biffa.

Specific steps taken to reduce waste include using by-products, like fine materials and dust, from the production of aggregates so they aren’t returned to quarry voids. These by-products are washed and processed to create manufactured sand to be used as a substitute, or transported to London and the South East by rail to be sold.

The amount of recycled asphalt planings (RAP), essentially crushed road waste, used in new asphalt mixes has doubled since 2014, meaning that Hanson has surpassed the 2020 goal. For cement, a recycled replacement called Regen, consisting of ground granulate blastfurnace slag, is being used that also reduces embodied carbon.

Overall, the waste and by-products that are reintroduced as a raw material or fuel in Hanson UK’s manufacturing process is 361 times larger than the amount sent to landfill.

Key footprints

The report also details progress towards the 2020 goals to reduce carbon emissions by 10%, energy use by 5% per tonne of product; increase the use of biofuel in cement by 35% and reduce transport emissions by 5% per tonne.

Hanson UK revealed that energy use fell by 1.2%, following two consecutive years of increases. The use of biomass has actually fallen from 24% to 14% in two years, due to storm damage to key infrastructure.

Carbon emissions per tonne of product have fallen by nearly 14% since 2010, while emissions from transport have fallen from 4.12kgCO2e/tonne to 4.03.

To drive efficiencies further, Hanson UK has pioneered a demand-side response approach to energy management, with the technology now rolled out to 29 of the company’s quarries across the country.

Hanson UK remains on track to reduce water consumption by 25% by 2020, although a target to reduce the sum of mains and abstracted water for concrete by 10% is “proving more difficult”.

Matt Mace

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