resource efficiency

Accelerate the transition to a circular economy
Recycle over 10 million tonnes a year of waste and secondary materials from other sectors.

"We are undertaking trials involving rubberised asphalt, which we believe will provide at least the same safety, grip and rideability performance as conventional asphalt.

Brian Kent, technical director

Supporting a circular economy, where waste is eliminated and resources remain in high value use for as long as possible; is critical for the long term sustainability of the UK construction sector.
For Tarmac this means designing out waste at every stage of the product life-cycle and developing products with greater durability, performance and longevity. Taking this approach helps to reduce demand for natural resources and ensure that the essential materials we need to supply our customers are available on a sustainable basis.


8.7 million tonnes
Waste and secondary materials used
RAP addition in asphalt products
73,000 tonnes
Fuel derived from waste

By developing business models that keep resources in use, we’re continuing to make a significant contribution to the efficient use of resources and to the circular economy. By re-using materials that would otherwise be disposed of as waste, we  not only divert them from waste streams but also reduce the carbon footprint of products and promote resource efficiency. As a business we are a net user of waste and secondary materials, using more of other people’s waste than the waste we produce ourselves. In 2018, we used 8.7 million tonnes of waste and secondary materials from other sectors as raw materials in our products and as fuel for our manufacturing processes, and sent around 53,592 tonnes of waste to landfill.

Total waste generated (hazardous and non-hazardous)

Type Tonnes %
Hazardous waste to landfill 831.7 0.17%
Non-hazardous waste to landfill 9,885.5 2.08%
Inert waste to landfill 204 0.04%
Hazardous waste recycled 37,845.5 7.95%
Non-hazardous waste recycled 303,604.6 63.81%
Inert waste recycled 123,414.6 25.94%
Total 475,785.9 100%

Waste to fuel our processes

We use wastes from other industries as part of our comprehensive waste derived fuels programme within our cement business. In 2018 we used 73,000 tonnes of waste to heat our cement kilns.

Recycling other people’s waste

Tarmac is one of the largest recyclers of construction and demolition waste in the UK, operating 44 recycling depots across the country to collect and process construction, demolition and excavation waste generated by other businesses. Working with our strategic partner GRS Earth Solutions Limited we produced in excess of 1.8 million tonnes of recycled aggregates for use by our customers in construction projects.
Using recycled materials

We use recycled aggregates and other materials such as ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS) from the iron and steel industry and fly ash from coal-fired power stations as cement substitutes together with slag aggregates in the manufacture of ready mixed concrete. We also use RAP (Recycled Asphalt Planings) in the manufacture of our asphalt products. 2018 saw continued efforts to progress our use of RAP, recycling over 793 ,000 tonnes. This represents a contribution of 19.5% against total asphalt production. 

Minimising Packaging Waste

Most of our products are delivered in bulk to customers, which means we use relatively little product packaging. But where packaging is required, we try to minimize it.

Packaging by type

Type Packaging Supplied (Tonnes)
Paper 1,341 
Plastic 3,472 
Wood 10,156 
Metal 1
Total 14,970 
Reducing plastics

The vast majority of our products can be delivered in bulk, completely avoiding the need for any packaging. During 2018 we established a cross business working group to focus on the use of plastic and, in particular, plastic packaging. However, for a small proportion of products, plastic packaging is used when delivering products to customers. This may be due to safety reasons, to protect product integrity, to protect products from the weather and to reduce wastage. At present, plastic remains our most sustainable option, nevertheless, we are working hard to find ways to reduce plastic packaging and to reduce plastic consumption across our business. We are looking at ways to increase the amount of recycled plastic in packaging well as reduce the thickness of the plastic needed.

We also play an important role in recycling society’s low value, end-of-life plastic waste plastic as a raw material or as a solid recovered fuel, when other recycling options have been exhausted. This helps to ensure that these plastics prevented from entering the environment.

Conserving water

Water is essential for many of our manufacturing operations. With the demand for water continuing to increase in the UK as the population grows and the need for industry to adapt to the potential impacts of climate change, water availability will be under increasing pressure. Water conservation therefore forms an important part of our resource efficiency programme and our efforts to move to a more circular economy.

We’ve already introduced water management plans at our sites as part of our progress towards our target to cut abstracted and mains water by 25% by 2020. The new plans analyses the movement, abstraction, discharge and use of water at a site, identifying opportunities to reduce water use as well as risks posed in terms of water shortages, floods and pollution incidents. 

During the year we used a total of 19.3 million cubic metres of water, of which 15.8 million cubic metres were  abstracted from groundwater and surface water sources, two million cubic metres from potable water supply and circa half a million  cubic metres derived from recycled water systems. This increase compared to previous years is largely due to improvements in reporting and collation of data.Read how we’re using waste water from Yorkshire water in the manufacture of concrete