These guidelines provide a practical reference for cement companies and their stakeholders to help them to understand and identify responsible and sustainable approaches to the selection and use of fuels and raw materials.
To meet the demands of a growing world population, all industries must become smarter about how they use, reuse, and recycle raw materials, energy, and wastes. The cement industry is no exception. Producing cement takes both large amounts of raw materials and fuel, and produces substantial carbon dioxide emissions.
The cement industry is actively engaged in industrial ecology, in which by-products from one industry become inputs for another. We can recover and use many industrial byproducts and other materials in cement manufacturing. Some are incorporated into the final product; others provide the fuel needed to convert limestone into cement.
Using by-products as fuel reduces the amount of virgin fossil fuels needed, and thus reduces the associated environmental impacts of finding, producing, transporting, and burning these fuels. Using by-products and/or wastes as fuel also decreases the demands on local landfills and incinerators and reduces their environmental impacts, including potential groundwater pollution, methane generation and hazardous ash residues.
Cement kilns can be used to recover energy from many non-hazardous wastes such as tires and biomass, as well as from some hazardous wastes. In some countries (Norway, Switzerland, and Japan are examples) cement kilns also play an important role in waste management and hazardous waste disposal.
While the industry has been safely using these materials for many years, the processes, practices and techniques to do so are generally part of individual company procedures, and thus not well known to a broader public. Stakeholders have told us they are concerned about the kinds of fuels and materials we use, and the kinds of emissions produced. They want to know that they are properly managed, and that serious thought and effort goes into understanding, controlling and minimizing impacts to our employees and the communities in which we operate.
Consequently, the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI) has produced these guidelines which offer both basic explanations about our operations, the role of fuels and materials in our products, and some very practical guidance for cement companies to use in managing their materials and fuels. During the preparation of this material we sought and received feedback from many of our stakeholders, including very specific comments on this document from more than 100 people in more than 20 countries.
The guidelines are built upon the principles of sustainable development, ecoefficiency and industrial ecology. These guidelines include information on the occupational health and safety concerns of handling different materials. Our hope is that the guidelines are equally helpful to all cement companies and public bodies; that they are widely distributed and used, particularly in countries and regions where specific requirements have not yet been identified.
However, these guidelines are not meant to, and can neither replace nor supersede local, national, or international requirements, which must be followed.
This document is divided into three sections that cover, respectively: