Hanson UK hits waste and water reduction goals three years early

Building materials supplier Hanson UK has surpassed its 2020 waste goal of reducing the amount of non-process waste sent to landfill by 85% compared to 2010, while also reducing water usage by a third.

Hanson UK, which is split into separate business lines for aggregates, concrete, asphalt and cement, announced the achievements in the latest iteration of its sustainability report, released on Friday (8 June).

The 2018 version of the report revealed that the supplier sent just 0.06kg of waste to landfill for every tonne of product it produced in 2017 – an 89% decrease on the 2010 baseline amount of 0.54kg. Hanson UK claimed that the reduction was driven by new initiatives which see waste from the company’s cement, concrete and asphalt production lines reused or recycled internally.

Another headline achievement is a 32% reduction in mains water use against a 2010 baseline, surpassing a 25% reduction scheduled for 2020. Hanson UK recorded a 15.5% reduction in mains water use per tonne of product last year, which the firm attributes to the installation of smart metres at its 25 biggest water-using sites along with increased identification and repairs of leaks. A target to reduce the sum of mains and abstracted water for concrete by 10% is also “very close” to completion.

Hanson UK’s chief executive, Daniel Cooper, said the firm made “some big strides forward” in its drive to “achieve its vision of becoming the sustainable market leader”.

“Looking ahead, I want to ensure we establish ourselves as a fair, inclusive and diverse company that values meritocracy, openness and transparency,” Cooper added.

For waste, 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. 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 increased by 14% last year, meaning that Hanson continues to surpass the 2020 goal for the second consecutive year. For cement, a recycled replacement called Regen, consisting of ground granulate blastfurnace slag, is being used that also reduces embodied carbon.

Footprint targets

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 per tonne of product fell 0.8% year-on-year as ISO 50001 systems become embedded into the business.

Meanwhile, carbon emissions per tonne of product have fallen by 7.2% since 2016 and more than 14% since 2010.

However, CO2 emissions from transport on a per-tonne basis rose by 1% year-on-year in 2017 from 4.03kgCO2e/tonne to 4.07kgCO2e/tonne. Hanson UK puts this down to an increase in delivery distances for aggregates and asphalt and is now looking at new metrics for monitoring the carbon and energy efficiency of its delivery fleet.

Sarah George

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