A range of non-traditional or alternative materials can be used in cement production where such materials retain a calorific value (replacing traditional fossil fuels), or where there is a material substitution value (replacing natural raw materials).
All CIF member companies have alternative fuels programs for their plants. Materials are sourced from by-products of other manufacturing and community processes, or from end-of-life products.
Unfortunately, such materials are commonly classed as 'wastes' under existing state regulatory regimes and this can constrain legitimate resource conservation efforts.
The Cement Industry Federation is a strong supporter of the new National Waste Policy Less Waste, More Resources, which, over the course of the next decade, should break down regulatory barriers to the use of alternative fuels and materials.
The industry is focused on identifying opportunities for utilising materials that retain value in the form of energy content and/or material substitution - where this value can be realised by the cement industry and provided their use makes economic and environmental sense.
While the industry has been safely using these kinds of materials for many years, the inherent processes, practices and techniques are part of individual company procedures and not well known to the broader public. Stakeholders hold legitimate concerns about the kinds of fuels and materials being used by the cement industry, as well as related emissions.
They want to know that the use of alternative materials is properly managed and that serious thought and effort goes into understanding, controlling and minimising risks to employees and the communities in which we operate.
As a minimum standard all CIF member companies follow the WBCSD's Guidelines for the selection and use of fuels and raw materials in the cement manufacturing process.