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Co-processing should be recognised in EU plastics strategy

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World Cement,

The European Cement Association, Cembureau, has urged European policymakers to recognise the contribution cement plants can make to managing waste plastic, as part of the European Commission’s initiative to develop a dedicated Plastics Strategy in a Circular Economy.

According to the commission, there is currently a low rate of recycling or reuse of plastics within the EU with most going to landfill or incinerators. However, non-recyclable plastic waste represents the largest share of alternative fuels used in the cement industry.

“We believe that co-processing is a key solution in providing a sustainable and efficient way to manage non-recyclable plastic waste and therefore contributes to reducing plastic littering into the environment, as well as landfilling and incineration,” Cembureau said in a position paper.

Cembureau are thus calling for policymakers to support the cement industry’s ability to co-process plastic, including the recognition that cement plants can treat and recycle plastics in the manufacturing process of cement and recover them as energy.

Cement manufacture “offers the necessary parameters for a full burnout of non-recyclable plastic waste, while also having a minimal environmental impact,” Cembureau continued. “As the plastic waste fuel’s components are entirely incorporated into the cement clinker, co-processing offers the unique opportunity of a simultaneous energy and material recovery.”

Any plastics strategy “must ensure that any plastic waster that has a calorific value which can be recovered as a fuel source is not landfilled,” concluded Cembureau, adding that measures to collect, sort and recovery plastics separately to other waste streams “could most likely be implemented in a cost-effective way in many member states.”

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European cement news Cement news 2018