UltraTech Concrete, the ready-mix concrete business of UltraTech Cement Ltd, achieved a unique benchmark of saving 100 million litres of water through concrete recycling, with 2013 as the baseline year. Being the largest manufacturer of ready-mix concrete (RMC) in India with over 100 plants, water has always been a key focus area for the organisation across its operations. UltraTech was the first company in India to adopt the ‘baton wash’ technology for concrete recycling at its plants in the year 2011.
‘Baton wash’ is used to reclaim residual concrete and slurry water during cleaning of transit mixers and plant mixers. It also separates solid materials from water. Slurry water discharged from the ‘baton wash’ is partially reused in concrete production.
Going one step ahead, UltraTech Concrete also became the first in India to adopt the ‘Filter Press’ technology for industrial waste management. This technology was deployed to recover water completely from slurry, and work is now in progress on developing a novel concept to recycle the solids, with a long term goal to achieve the status of a ‘Zero Discharge Plant’.
Concrete produced by RMC plants may not be fully utilized at customer sites. A small portion of concrete always remains unutilized in the form of coating or reject material deposited inside the transit mixer, which needs to be cleaned before it can be used in the next cycle. There are huge environmental ramifications of improper waste disposal practices. It is estimated that roughly 25 billion tonnes of concrete is manufactured globally each year, out of which 125 million tonnes remains unutilized in various forms that amounts to becoming debris (As per World Business Council for Sustainable Development estimate).
Waste generated by RMC plants such as cement slurry or sludge is not classified under Hazardous Waste Category in India. However, there are other problems related to this product. If not disposed properly and quickly, the sludge tends to set as rock at the given location because of its inherent cementing properties.
UltraTech Concrete has carried out several initiatives for the sustainable usage of resources (energy & water) and environmental protection (greenhouse gas emissions). It has robust processes of measuring and monitoring energy, CO2 emissions, water consumption and solid & water recycling. UltraTech Concrete was recently conferred with Golden Peacock Environment Management Award 2018 under Excellence in Environment Management category.