The use of cement substitutes is a common practice throughout the global cement industry. Another common methodology to reducing emissions in cement production is from using alternative fuels, such as biomass and other waste materials. We have always considered alternative fuel use a win-win solution as it increases our profitability and enhances competitiveness while reducing our carbon footprint.
Despite prevalence in other countries, in Hong Kong, it is an unusual practice for a cement company to target locally available waste. To demonstrate the environmental and economic value, we conducted a trial burn programme of wood derived fuel to prove how GIC can collaborate with local waste management groups and resolve the waste problem of Hong Kong in a responsible and accountable manner. Under a special permit granted by the EPD in October 2018 and after Typhoon Mangkhut, approximately 263 tonnes of fallen trees and twigs were collected and burned in our plant as an alternative energy source in 2018.
The trial burn exercise has proven to be successful in showcasing our capacity for providing a high-quality standard of cement that diverts waste from landfill and incinerators and has minimal emissions.
Hong Kong residents and companies use a lot of glass for food and beverage needs, and despite being endlessly 100% recyclable, without loss in quality or purity, very little of it is recycled. Always thinking resourcefully, in 2017, we saw an opportunity to help divert Hong Kong's waste glass from landfill by using glass cullet as an additive during cement production. The glass cullet replaces between 1-2% of clinker and in 2018 we handled 3,560 tonnes, which is equivalent to around 2,500 tonnes in CO2 reduction while also diverting nearly 1,000 metric tonnes of glass from going to landfill every month. We target to convert around 16,000 tonnes annually (i.e. 1% of our clinker dosage) however achieving this goal is subject to the availability of glass supply and the logistics of working with waste glass collection service providers. The EPD supports this initiative as it is considered a viable solution that both diverts waste and reduces CO2 emission.