Cement production is the world’s single biggest industrial cause of carbon pollution. Concrete is the most widely used man-made material in existence. It is second only to water as the most-consumed resource on the planet.
But, while cement – the key ingredient in concrete – has shaped much of our built environment, it also has a massive carbon footprint. Cement is the source of about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to think tank Chatham House.
If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world – behind China and the US. It contributes more CO2 than aviation fuel (2.5%) and is not far behind the global agriculture business (12%).
Portland cement has been the world’s standard cement since the 19th century. The key raw material for Portland cement is limestone, which releases carbon dioxide as it is heated in a cement kiln. This process accounts for over 55% of cement-related emissions.
Additionally, the manufacturing of the downstream product concrete, generates about 4.5 percent of the world’s human-induced carbon dioxide emissions.
After a reign of nearly 200 years, it’s time to think of replacements for Portland cement and in turn concrete.
A roto moulded polyethylene plastic alternative is one answer to reducing emissions from cement and concrete.
‘…the carbon footprint of a Poo Pit maintenance shaft is less than 1% of the footprint associated with concrete manholes. In other words, the Poo Pit shaft is at least 137 times more carbon efficient than concrete manholes…’
Comparative LCAs of QuickStream Poo Pit Maintenance Shaft and Concrete Manhole February 3, 2021 Delivered to QuickStream Solutions Inc by CleanMetrics Corp. 4804 NW Bethany Blvd. Suite I-2, #108 Portland, OR 97229 USA.
The attached paper on the Cradle to the Grave Life Cycle Assessment quoted from above, clearly shows the significant reduction in GHG emissions that can be realised by specifying and installing the plastic alternative to concrete manholes/access chambers.
Act now to significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Avoid drastic outcomes – specify plastic instead!
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NOTE: Whilst we encourage the replacement of concrete in manhole/access chamber/maintenance hole applications etc., wherever feasible, we also recognise that plastic is not suited to all applications, for instance in above ground structures such as noise, feature, boundary walls and other above ground exposed structural applications where concrete needs to be used.