Get a quote

Creating a circular economy business model

Since we launched Thermal Recycling at the end of 2019 the focus on finding innovative and sustainable solutions to all types of waste, particularly in the construction sector, has increased exponentially. Many companies are looking to reduce their carbon footprint and are aiming for zero to landfill. 

This blog describes some of the really exciting and innovative work we have been doing with the help of two of the Midlands’ fantastic universities.


Thermal Recycling has an Environment Agency permit to accept cement bound asbestos containing chrysotile. Our thermal technology is used to convert this type of asbestos containing waste into a new substance that no longer contains asbestos. We have been working hard to identify the best use for the treated material.

We have called the new material Calmag. Looking at it from a chemistry perspective, the new substance contains, amongst other things, calcium, aluminium and magnesium as silicates, carbonates, sulphates and oxides. Because of its origins it has cementitious properties.

We received a Smart Innovation grant from the government which allowed us to do some research on Calmag.  The research confirmed that it can be used to replace c. 10% of Portland cement when used to produce concrete.  This is a fantastic result as cement production generates more greenhouse gases than any other industrial production process.  It accounts for up to 8% of all of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Since undertaking this work we have been working with Keele University and Birmingham University to further understand more about Calmag.

Keele University, under their SEND programme, has performed a Life Cycle Assessment that quantifies the carbon savings of using Calmag produced in a future full scale Thermal Recycling plant.  The methodology takes into account the entire production system and compares this with Portland cement and other cement substitutes such as PFA and GGBS.  The conclusion is that, depending on the final specification of a full scale plant, producing 1 tonne of Calmag generates 391 kgCO2e compared with 590 kgCO2e for producing 1 tonne of Portland cement a difference of 199 kgCO2e.  This means that when used to replace cement Calmag reduces emissions by 34%.

Birmingham’s University, under their ARLI programme, is looking at ways to increase the ratio of Calmag to Portland cement and also whether Calmag could be a geopolymer cement which would offer a complete replacement to Portland cement.  This research is on-going.

Thermal Recycling is leading the way in finding a circular economy approach to diverting asbestos a known human carcinogen away from landfill, converting it into a new substance and for that substance to be used to reduce emissions from cement production, one of the most polluting industrial processes in the world.  

We use cookies to help provide you with the best possible online experience.
By using this site, you agree that we may store and access cookies on your device. Find out about our cookies.