Spanish cement industry not using enough waste

Spain still landfills large amounts of waste despite under-using its cement incineration capacity, according to CEMA

Bags of cement. Picture Wikipedia
Bags of cement. Picture Wikipedia

A report has found Spain’s use of waste in cement kilns is well below the European average of 34.5%. 

Spanish cement plants processed nearly 715,000 tonnes of waste in total, equivalent to 26% of the overall fuel needed for the nation’s cement kilns.

The report, Recycling and recovery of waste in the cement industry, was produced by the Labour Foundation for Cement and the Environment (CEMA). It states some plants burn no waste at all, sending the majority of it to landfill.

The report, based on 2013 figures was released on 29 September. It finds that 28 of Spain’s 33 operational factories were authorised to recover waste and two were permitted to use biomass as fuel. 

The study breaks down the percentages territorially. Topping the list were the Aragon and Castile-La Mancha regions, where waste made up on average 48.5% of kiln feedstock, followed by Valencia averaging 46.3%.

In Extremadura, the factory Cementos Balboa in Alconera, does not use any waste. CEMA director general, Dimas Vallina, said that in this region "more than 60% of household waste ends up buried in landfills".

The most up-to-date Eurostat figures show that nationwide Spain landfills 60% of its waste and incinerates just 10%, although it plans to boost capacity.

While it is the largest exporter of cement, Spain’s use of waste lags well behind Holland (85%) and Austria, Germany and Norway who all use more than 60%. 

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