Last week, Sandbag submitted its response to the Commission’s Consultation on the Circular Economy, drawing attention to the understated potential of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and mineralisation technologies to close the carbon loop and recycle wastes into low-carbon products.

The circular economy was a concept conceived by Ellen MacArthur on her world-record breaking singlehanded circumnavigation of the globe. Over 71 days she realised her yacht needed to become a closed loop in as many ways as possible. Just as the yacht worked best when the minimum was discarded, and the majority reused, so would our global economy. This European Commission intends to embed this principle in the economy of the European Union, with a new strategy to be announced before the end of the year.

Mineralisation – a process in which CO2 is reacted with incineration ash, cement and steelmaking by-products and other wastes to make building aggregate and high value chemical products – is a prime example of a circular process. Waste streams that would otherwise be disposed of in landfill can be converted via the mineralisation process into environmentally-friendly, saleable products, while creating new jobs and expertise in waste management.

Sandbag’s response to the Commission highlighted the specific and important role of mineralisation technologies in realising the circular economy for key industrial sectors. It included recommendations on easing restrictions around transporting hazardous wastes where they are useful as mineralisation feedstocks and called for a review of certification practices that can act as barriers to low-carbon construction materials entering the market.

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