For Lafarge Plasterboard, long-term economic performance is linked to respect for the environment. We are committed to the protection of the environment, human health and well-being, the conservation of nature, and minimising the environmental impact of our activities, products and services.
Lafarge Plasterboard endeavours to comply with all applicable legislation and to conduct our business within sustainable development principles. Our investment in the future is based on continual improvement in environmental management, principles and practices. We monitor and analyse our environmental performance through our Environmental Management System (EMS).
Our environmental priorities focus on four key areas: carbon emissions, energy efficiency, water efficiency and waste management.
CO2 and CH4 emissions are suspected of causing global warming by enhancing the greenhouse effect. Lafarge Group has undertaken an ambitious strategy to reduce our worldwide net CO2 emissions per tonne of cement by 20% from 1990 to 2010. Furthermore, the Group targets to reduce our absolute gross CO2 emissions by 10% in industrialised countries over the same time period.
In Australia, we are also playing our part to comply with existing and upcoming legislation with the ultimate goal of reducing our carbon footprint. In July 2008, we submitted preliminary measurements of our CO2 emission levels as required by the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act (NGER) and are prepared to support the initiatives of the Australian Department of Climate Change to reach emission targets.
For more information, go to Australian Government Department of Climate Change National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act.
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Under Kyoto, industrialised countries seek to reduce their collective GHG emissions by 5.2% compared to the year 1990 over the period 2008-2012.
Australia signed the Kyoto Protocol on 29 April 1998 and ratified it on 12 December 2007. Along with the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the Australian government has made a domestic emission reduction target of 60% by 2050 and the establishment of an emissions trading scheme by 2010.
For more information, go to Australian Government Department of Climate Change – Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
Heat Recovery System
Lafarge Plasterboard is dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water. We measure, review and report on water consumption at both manufacturing plants on a monthly basis using our Environmental Management System (EMS). This tool assists us in making continual improvements in production efficiencies to conserve water resources.
Improvements in production efficiencies at both manufacturing plants have led us to decrease our overall water consumption each year. Through our participation in the Sydney Water’s “Every Drop Counts” program, we have reduced our annual water consumption by 6%, or 14,500 litres per day.
A special project targeting water loss reduction has resulted in a 5% reduction on the standard product since January 2007.
Lafarge has submitted a Water Savings Action Plan to the Australian Department of Utilities and Sustainability (DEUS). One initiative in this plan is the harvesting of storm water for use in the manufacturing process at both Altona and Matraville plants. Whenever there is rain water in the collection system, the demand of town water required by the process is reduced by 50% in Matraville and 100% in Altona. In the first year, we saved nearly 13 million litres of water from being taken from the town supply.
Our achievements in water conservation have been recognised by Sydney Water, who have awarded Lafarge Plasterboard with the Innovation Award in 2008 for our stormwater reuse system.
Did you know?
On average, a square metre of plasterboard requires approximately 4.4 litres of water to produce
According to the GBMA Life Cycle Assessment for plasterboard, the greatest potential for environmental improvement lies in reducing the consumption of thermal energy for the plaster mill and the plasterboard plant. Lafarge Plasterboard recognises this environmental impact as a key element in our Environmental Management System (EMS) and seeks to improve energy efficiencies through significant operational upgrades and consideration of alternative energy sources.
Lafarge has initiated several programs to recover and re-circulate waste heat back into the production process. The new heat recovery system in Altona has the potential to save up to 8% of the site’s natural gas consumption while the calciner efficiency initiative has reduced the ratio of gas consumed per ton of plaster. The reduction in energy use of the Altona factory in Melbourne is shown in the graph below.
Did you know?
On average, a square metre of plasterboard requires approximately 7.0 kWh of energy to produce
Waste management occurs throughout the plasterboard life cycle – during the production processes, on a job site and at the end of life of the plasterboard. Plasterboard is 100% recyclable at all of these stages.
Lafarge Plasterboard is committed to an ongoing process of minimising waste to landfill. We recycle waste gypsum back into the production process. Waste plasterboard is also re-used as soil conditioner for land rehabilitation and to make gluts for storage and transport of plasterboard.
As part of our Environmental Management System (EMS), Lafarge Plasterboard measures and reports daily on individual waste streams in the production process. Monthly and annual targets are set for waste to landfill and waste recycled. Our aim for 2010 is to reclaim approximately 30% of total manufacturing waste and recycle this gypsum back into the production process.
To minimise the waste sent to landfill from job sites during construction and demolition, Lafarge Plasterboard may organise a plasterboard collection service for some of its customers. The recovered plasterboard waste from off cuts and demolition is processed for re-use as soil conditioner.
Did you know?
The weight of plasterboard waste generated during construction of an average house is around 200kg
Lafarge Plasterboard is committed to continual improvement in environmental management, principles and practices. For more information please look at the Lafarge Plasterboard Environmental Policy.
Lafarge Plasterboard continually monitors, analyses and audits our environmental performance. We measure and review 75 environmental compliance indicators monthly, including dust emissions, water consumption, energy consumption, estimated CO2 emissions, waste to landfill and waste recycled. Lafarge Plasterboard undertakes a formal environmental audit every four years. The most recent audit was completed in 2008.
For more information on our EMS please contact Lafarge Plasterboard Technical Services.