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Lafarge Canada plans to double recycled aggregates volumes

By Adam Freill   

Concrete Construction Green Construction Roads

Provider of sustainable construction materials uses Earth Day to announce target of over 2 million tonnes per year of recycled aggregates.

(Photo: Business Wire)

In celebration of Earth Day, Lafarge Canada has announced an ambitious goal to double its Eastern Canada recycled aggregates volumes by 2025, which sets its target at supplying customers with over 2 million tonnes per year, or the equivalent to a train pulling 16,000 fully loaded rail cars.

The use of recycled aggregates is a key component of Lafarge Canada’s journey to Net Zero.

“2021 was a record year. Having achieved a 19 per cent growth rate last year, exceeding our original ambition of 15 per cent, encourages our teams to confidently work towards our 2025 aggregates strategy,” commented Peter Sanguineti, vice-president, Aggregates Eastern Canada. “In fact, we are already looking to accelerate this year’s growth rate, aiming at 25 per cent – a 10 per cent annual prediction increase – based on our ongoing projects with key partners in Eastern Canada.”

Lafarge views its recycled aggregates portfolio as a clear example of the company’s commitment to the concept of circular economy. When producing recycled aggregates from demolition waste and returned concrete, Lafarge avoids the disposal of these materials in landfills and presents a sustainable alternative to virgin materials, which are non-renewable resources.


“In addition, our high quality recycled aggregates significantly reduce the volume of virgin material to be transported by trucks over time,” said Marie-Michele Poirier, manager of environment and land for Eastern Canada. “In order to reuse construction waste and turn it into recycled aggregates, we transport the waste directly to stockpiles at cities’ depots, which traditionally is a shorter distance compared to virgin material transportation from quarries to construction sites, resulting in a significant decrease in GHG emissions.”

“Our objective is to follow the circular economy’s three principles of reduce, reuse, and recycle to build more with less and preserve our ecosystems. In that sense, our efforts are focused on expanding applications for recycled aggregates and raising quality and acceptance standards; and at the same time, address current barriers across provincial and local governments,” stated Sanguineti. “When you consider the logistics benefits of being close to the market and the need for a trusted outlet for demolition waste, we have a winning recipe.”

In Eastern Canada, Lafarge has supplied recycled aggregates to multiple projects in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Ontario, including Metrolinx and the most recent QEW Credit River project. In addition, the company has been working with subcontractors to Mosaic’s Finch Light Rail Transit (LRT) project to supply recycled aggregates in Mississauga, Ont.

“In one of our most recent endeavors, we have been supplying multiple contractor partners performing the work for the various projects as part of the City of Toronto Basement Flooding Protection Program,” stated Mark Lambie, commercial manager for the company’s Greater Toronto Area aggregates division. “The city primarily uses recycled concrete for trench backfill and bedding as part of the roadwork and their flood protection program upgrades to water and wastewater in infrastructure.”

Lafarge has also partnered with Concordia University, in Quebec, on a study in cooperation with the City of Montreal to assess recycled aggregates performance in different applications.

“Another exciting channel is our collaboration with different industries’ interest groups, such as Circular Economy Leadership Canada and our participation in their World Circular Economy Forum last year,” highlighted Sanguineti. “In February this year, we had the pleasure to sponsor ‘Maximizing the use of recycled aggregates for roads construction in Canada,’ a national workshop led by Circular Economy Leadership Canada in partnership with Circular Innovation Council.”

According to Nicolas Ginouse, Lafarge’s Eastern Canada technical director for aggregates and construction materials, “Technical and scientific studies on this topic clearly show that the complete or partial replacement of virgin aggregates by recycled aggregates offers unique opportunities for supply chain security, reducing natural resources consumption, and global carbon footprint while ensuring similar, and in some cases, superior performances when compared to virgin materials.”

In 2019, the Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) estimated that more than 6 million tonnes of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) were being stockpiled at over a hundred facilities across the province.

“If we were to reuse this amount of RAP as an industry – the equivalent of over 500,000 full dump trucks – in producing asphalt for new roads, we would be looking at saving around 15 million cubic metres of freshwater, enough water for over 50,000 households for one year, and on top of that, we would be saving 125 thousand tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions,” concluded Lambie.

There are a few barriers currently restricting the accelerated growth of recycled aggregates in Canada, however. One of the most pressing roadblocks is the lack of trust in performance.

“This is why it is key for us to aim to define a set of regulations or a certification system that provides the minimum quality and consistency requirements to ensure high standard performance. However, Lafarge recognizes the fact that we cannot influence this on our own and there must be consensus among responsible players,” commented Sanguineti. “With that said, we have initiated an industry task force with like-minded responsible industry players, looking to standardize acceptance requirements across local governments in Ontario.”



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