We were honoured and delighted to receive an award at Novembers Pakman Awards, the national environmental and sustainability awards, that recognise excellence in recycling and waste management among businesses, organisations, community groups and initiatives in Ireland.
IMS entered our product “Greenstone” into the awards under the category “Innovation in waste resource Products or Service Award.” Since 2018 IMS have been working on recycling concrete waste and in Since 2018 and in late 2019 were the first Irish company to be granted an End of Waste (EoW) decision from the EPA for our recycled aggregate products which we named “Greenstone”. Greenstone are recycled aggregates which are certified by the NSAI and can be used in civil engineering and roads projects. The product was brought to the market in early 2020.
Under the European Green Deal and the National Waste Management Plan for a Circular Economy Ireland has made good progress in defining our path to a more sustainable future via the Circular Economy framework. Construction and Demolition waste has been prioritised at EU and national level as one sector which has the greatest opportunity for improvement. Up until recently there were little or no options for construction waste producers to recycle their material. IMS are focused on providing economical, compliant, and practical solutions in this area.
The EoW process is governed under Article 28 of the Waste Framework Directive which requires four pillars to be satisfied in order for a waste to be considered to have achieved end of waste status and become a recycled product:
- The substance or object is commonly used for specific purposes;
- There is an existing market or demand for the substance or object;
- The use is lawful (substance or object fulfils the technical requirements for the specific purposes and meets the existing legislation and standards applicable to products);
- The use will not lead to overall adverse environmental or human health impacts.
One of the main elements which required most input was the environmental risk assessment to ensure any new product would not lead to overall adverse environmental or human health impacts. IMS worked with Golder Associates to carry out detailed quantitative environmental risk assessments to model the impacts on groundwater for various scenarios applicable to Irish geology.
Following on from the environmental assessments, the new materials were assessed against existing product standards. An application was made to the NSAI in order for the established procedures to be audited. IMS were the first company in Ireland to undergo an audit for the production of recycled aggregates and System 2+ certification was granted in February 2020.
In order to run the production the requirements of both the EPA and NSAI have to be met continually in order to produce a certified product which is fit for purpose. The waste acceptance and control element is governed under IMS’s EPA Waste Licence. The processing of material is carried out by crushing equipment using the only specialised recycling crusher in the country. Waste input material and product output material is continually checked, sampled and analysed to ensure a quality conforming product.
The benefits of Greenstone are manyfold and include:
- Waste producers can have their concrete recycled on or off site of generation;
- EoW decision allows for recycling onsite of generation as long as waste permissions in place (e.g. mobile crusher permit)
- Material can be reused on the site (e.g. replacing new roads etc)
- Can significantly reduce truck movements of waste out and material in.
- Prevents landfill or backfill of waste concrete;
- Over 150,000 tonnes of concrete diverted to date.
- Keeps materials and their embodied carbon in the loop.
- Reduces the need for extraction of primary materials;
- Reduces environmental impacts associated with extraction inc. biodiversity loss, landscape, traffic etc
In addition to accredited quality assurance certification, Greenstone has undergone an independent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to measure the Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) / ‘carbon footprint’ of the materials. Following detailed assessment and independent verification, our materials have been certified to have a carbon footprint which is up to 95% less then that of primary aggregates based on verified industry data.
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is now available for Greenstone through the Irish Green Building Council. The EPD allows project designers to calculate the overall carbon footprint for their project by assessing the EPD’s of all materials they use in the development as well as factoring in transport, project life span and second life the constituent materials.
One of the key factors in reducing a products carbon footprint is for the truck that is transporting the waste concrete from a customers site to be reloaded with Greenstone at IMS and go back to same site. One project we worked on was for Dublin Airport where the waste concrete was transported to the IMS facility, processed and loaded back into the same truck for use on the client’s site. This saved c. 1,100 truck movements and provided significant carbon savings in transport and off set those that would be incurred from virgin materials.
IMS are honoured and privileged to have won the Pakman award and look forward to entering many more of our recycling initiatives in the future.