The energetic use of waste in the cement factories of Catalonia added, in 2017, 203,166 tons. This amount of materials allowed replacing 32.6% of the energy consumed, thus saving the use of fossil fuels, the main causes of global warming and Climate Change. The contribution of Catalan plants to the environment also included the use of 127,827 tons of waste to be incorporated as raw material in the manufacturing process. Overall, and according to the latest update of the Observatory on recycling and recovery of waste in the cement industry in Spain, prepared by the Cerdà Institute and presented by the CEMA Foundation, the Catalan factories prevented almost 331 thousand tons of waste from to stop at the landfill during 2017.
The study analyzes the waste management in Spain and establishes that 54% has landfill as a destination. This figure exceeds the European average by 30 points, and it’s even further from the standards of environmentally advanced countries such as Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden or Switzerland, where landfills have practically disappeared, in accordance with the best practices recommended in Circular economy policies of the EU. One of the key elements in these results is the cost of the spill: in Spain it is 49 euros per ton, in Catalonia it amounts to 70 € / ton, while in Germany it rises to 140 € and in Sweden it reaches 155 € / ton.
The more economically penalized is the dumping of waste (with the consequent pollution problems that it entails) the more it stimulates recycling and energy recovery, a practice that Catalan cement factories have been promoting for more than a decade. With the use of alternative fuels from waste it has been achieved, for example, that in 2017 the emission of 255 thousand tons of CO2 into the atmosphere is avoided.