The Group's industrial ecology approach is built around finding ways to add value to waste. The underlying principle is that waste products from certain industries can serve as energy or raw material resources for other industries. In 2009, alternative fuels such as waste and biomass represented almost 11% of the fuel used by the Group.
Promoting alternative energy sources
For 30 years, Lafarge has been developing solutions to reduce energy consumption and diversify supplies.
Examples of alternative fuel sources:
- biomass: rice husks in the Philippines, coffee pods in Uganda, shells from palm oil nuts in Malaysia,
- various waste products: plastics, solvents and old tires in Germany.
Using waste materials as an alternative to fossil energies has benefits for the Group and for local communities:
- Lafarge uses less fossil energy, reduces its fuel bill and reduces its dependence on the market for traditional fuels,
- the Group provides a service to the community by incinerating waste products that would otherwise be difficult and costly to eliminate.
This approach also has positive effects in terms of CO2 emissions. Biomass is neutral in terms of CO2 while placing waste material in landfill produces greenhouse gases.
Developing alternative materials
Clinker, a key ingredient in cement manufacture, can also be partially substituted by waste. By adding industrial residues such as recycled construction materials and products derived from other industries, it is possible to:
- reduce the use of natural, non-renewable raw materials,
- decrease CO2 emissions,
- reduce costs.