Foundation industries work towards industrial symbiosis

Bringing together partners from across the foundation industries, the EnviroAsh project aims to investigate waste ashes, slags and mineral by-products as a source of secondary raw materials.

The project team led by Glass Technology Services, consisting of partners from across the foundation industry supply chain and academia, hosted an interactive workshop to discuss opportunities for reusing waste materials, identify the barriers associated with secondary raw materials, and address factors implementing application.

The event was widely attended by the colleagues from across the six foundation industries (glass, ceramics, steel, paper, cement and chemicals) as well as representatives from academia, government agencies, and the energy sector.

Chris Holcroft, Principal Technologist at Glass Technology Services provided an insight into circular economy and industrial symbiosis, as well as progress on the EnviroAsh project:  

“In a circular economy we are moving away from the linear manufacturing model of take, make and dispose towards a future where waste that can be recycled is injected back into the economy and manufactured as secondary raw materials.

“This process across multiple manufacturing industries, creates industrial symbiosis and is vital in reducing waste to landfill, as well as reducing requirements for virgin raw materials, and in some cases energy.

“When there is increasing pressure on brands, retailers and the wider industry to become more sustainable, there’s no better time to look into solutions to expand circular economy and the availability of secondary raw materials through industrial symbiosis.”

The EnviroAsh project expands upon an established consortium who have investigated the use of biomass ash as a raw material for glass manufacture. Bringing together partners from across the foundation industries, events such as this one are the perfect opportunity to gather and share expertise, best practice, and inspiration.

“The event was well represented by individuals from across the foundation industries, providing a stimulated and useful discussion around the use of secondary raw materials. Identified barriers included the quality and quantity of waste available, high costs for waste materials, and permit requirements around the processing of waste.

“The appetite for moving the project forward was very strong and it was recognised that finding a home for these waste materials will drive us forward on our journey toward a circular economy and industrial symbiosis.

“The project will go beyond the simple proof of principle that these materials work and will look to develop processes to deliver consistent quality materials in sufficient quantities and in a commercially viable way. This will help to develop the supply chain for these materials to encourage take up.

“It was fantastic to see so many industry representatives present and to facilitate an excellent discussion around waste products as raw materials. The consortium will be hosting another event in September 2021 to give an update on our progress.”

To be kept up to date with the EnviroAsh project, the next event or to get involved contact

Led by Glass Technology Services, EnviroAsh – Development of new waste-derived raw materials for the Foundation Industries, is funded as part of the Innovate UK ‘Transforming Foundation Industries: Fast Start Projects’ funding call. Other project partners include Sheffield Hallam University, The University of Sheffield, Power Minerals, Glass Futures, Encirc, Saica Paper, Drax Power, Hanson Cement and Wienerberger.

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