Circular economy

Waste products can be used as a substitute for fossil fuels and other raw materials, providing us with an excellent opportunity to address society’s waste problem. This also means less waste in landfills or incinerators. The volume of waste materials used in our operations rose by 4.3% in 2019, outpacing our volume growth as we head toward our 2030 target of 80 million tons.

 

Around two million tons of plastic waste were co-processed in our cement kilns and we remain committed to increasing these volumes.

 

This amount of reused waste corresponds to the equivalent amount of waste from 2 million garbage collection trucks.

 

We are especially interested in targeting this aspect of our business to issues of broad social relevance, such as marine litter.

 

Reducing marine litter

The rise in ocean plastics is a global environmental policy challenge. Without significant action, plastic marine litter could outweigh all the fish in the ocean by 2050. Geocycle, our sustainable waste management solutions business, has taken a lead in addressing this challenge by partnering with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on a project to stem marine litter. Initiated in key urban areas in Egypt, Mexico, Morocco and the Philippines, the project works in a number of ways to stem marine pollution including reducing waste generation, improving waste management and raising public awareness.

Key actions are already underway in the selected countries. Geocycle México, for example, has launched the OLAS clean ocean initiative to play a lead role in fighting marine pollution. Geocycle and other key stakeholders have developed a focused communication plan for building awareness about this issue and are meeting with government representatives at federal, regional and municipal levels to increase awareness and gain support.

Geocycle has also partnered with GIZ and the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW) to update the 2006 Guidelines on Co-processing Waste Materials in Cement Production to support further development of environmentally safe pre- and coprocessing. In one last noteworthy partnership, Geocycle works with the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. More than forty chemical companies, packagers, consumer goods manufacturers, and waste managers have pledged to invest up to USD1.5 billion for a plastic waste management infrastructure in Southeast Asia, where the plastic litter and leakage problem is most acute.