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Turning waste into cement

Nestlé Philippines and Republic Cement and Building Materials Inc. have teamed up to turn postconsumer plastic waste into cement.

Republic Cement had signed an agreement with Nestlé to do what it called “coprocessing,” which essentially is an alternative waste management solution that can use waste as fuel.

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“There’s still a lack of knowledge on the importance of coprocessing. We look forward to helping address the issue of postconsumer waste and look forward to the successful implementation of this project,” said Republic Cement president Renato Sunico.

Further details about this agreement have not been disclosed.

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Republic Cement is a CRH-Aboitiz company that owns five cement plants and one grinding station in the Philippines. It has more than 60 years of cement manufacturing experience.

In the Philippines, while landfilling and physical treatments are more common, coprocessing is more advantageous given that energy and minerals coming from waste are almost completely utilized, the cement firm said.

Cement kiln coprocessing is the process used to create cement. It takes raw materials such as calcium carbonate and silica and feeds them into a kiln along with fuel.

The materials are burned to such a high temperature that any complex material is broken into simpler compounds. The company said that the end result of the process was cement.

It said emissions from the process were filtered and monitored to comply with the standards of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Nestlé Philippines chair and CEO Kais Marzouki said the company was aiming for “plastic neutrality,” or recovering plastics equal to what Nestlé produces.

“Aside from our current collection and recycling initiatives, we believe this effort will help us gather and coprocess bigger volumes of postconsumer waste. We target to divert more postconsumer waste from landfills and the ocean,” he said.

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In April 2018, Nestlé announced a global commitment to use 100 percent of recyclable and reusable packaging by 2025. The company’s vision is that none of its waste ends up in landfill or as litter.

Achieving the vision entails three focus areas: developing the packaging of the future; helping shape a waste-free future through collection and recycling; and driving new behaviors and understanding on waste.

Nestlé has initiated and is driving waste collection efforts with various partners. A portion of the wastes collected goes to recycling and upcycling programs producing construction materials, such as ecobricks and ecopavers, even school chairs.

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