Tarmac now a ‘net user’ of waste as consumption exceeds production

Leading aggregrates firm Tarmac has reduced the amount of waste sent to disposal by 92% since 2004 and is now a "net user" of waste, according to its latest sustainability report.

Its report states that being a net user of waste means that “we consume far more waste from society and other industries than we produce ourselves.”

It adds: “In 2010, we sent under 21,000 tonnes of waste to licensed disposal, but used over 2M tonnes of waste and secondary materials from other industries to make recycled aggregates, to use as raw materials in our products, and as fuels in our manufacturing processes, such as cement production.”

Tarmac now recycles 87% of the waste it generates and has reduced total waste generated by 65% since 2004. Any unavoidable waste generated is reused or recovered by its own operations.

For example, mineral waste materials not fit for use in products are used by the company’s own quarries to structure internal roads for operational vehicles, holding mounds and restoration work through backfilling.

In addition, waste from its lime production facilities at Tunstead and Hindlow is processed as a raw material for cement production. In 2010, 8,648 tonnes of material was reused in this way.

The company also recovered 244 kilogrammes of waste per tonne of cement produced, equating to 203,000 tonnes. Its cement plant also uses around 36,000 tonnes of waste as part of a waste-derived fuels programme.

The report states: “In 2009, we set ourselves the ambitious target of reducing the amount of waste sent to licensed disposal by 75% by 2012 from a 2004 baseline.

“In 2010, we exceeded our ambitious target and have a very positive record on waste minimisation, but we recognise that a part of this performance may be due to the economic downturn, as well as our waste reduction efforts.”

Tarmac claims to be the UK’s largest quarrying company and supplier of building materials to the construction industry. Since 2004, it has also reduced energy consumption by 15% and cut carbon emissions by 11%.

Maxine Perella

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