The California cement company is transitioning to low-carbon cement mixes and turning carbon emissions from other organisations into an important ingredient in its own materials.
Company-Wide Sustainable Operations
Sustainability is the foundation of who we are as a company. U.S. Concrete’s family of companies comprises the first concrete companies in the nation to formalize a company-wide commitment to sustainable construction. Through our Low CO2 mixes and sustainability strategies, we have considerably mitigated the environmental impact of our production processes. We constantly strive to improve, implement and embrace operational practices that are responsive to growing environmental challenges.
Reducing the environmental impact of our operations
Measuring carbon footprint/emission
Greenhouse gases have negative impacts on our environment. That is why we’re committed to implementing company-wide carbon emission measuring and verification practices. This is essential in order to make our plants more sustainable and to establish a baseline for future reduction goals. Since 2008, we have been measuring our carbon footprint on annual basis at our ready-mixed operations. This has been done by a certified third party, Climate Earth, in compliance with WRI protocol standards.
Monitoring and controlling air emission
Controlling air quality helps maintain good relationships with our local communities and protects the environment. That is why we ensure that we operate in compliance with air quality standards and have plans in place to reduce and control emissions into the air. We monitor cement/fly ash emissions via air pressure differential devices.
Return concrete recycling
Our ready-mix facilities utilize the best practices to recycle all unused concrete returned to the plants. In many cases, the returned concrete can be reused in the production of fresh concrete, depending on the quality and end use. Additionally, many of our plants have multiple block forms to capture the leftovers, which then can be sold as blocks (precast). Any block surplus is sent to our recycling facilities for processing and resale.
Central has led the way by installing each truck with the Enviroguard Chute Wash system. These washout systems capture and contain wastewater and concrete washout materials, allowing us to recycle the water and surplus concrete. Using concrete washout systems protects the environment from chemicals that are present in the wastewater, which if not properly contained can percolate into the ground and contaminate groundwater.
Water is an integral part of our concrete production process, from mixing to the cleaning of our trucks and equipment. Consequently, from an environmental and business aspect, we strive to optimize the use of our water resources. Throughout our facilities, we collect process water in total retention ponds, which is then recycled into our manufacturing process leaving zero process water discharge. Storm water is segregated from process water and leaves our properties at designated out flow sites.
Monitoring and reporting of our environmental practices
In addition to the required environmental reports, which vary by state, many of our facilities are recognized for continual improvement of environmental best management practices, earning the NRMCA Green-Star Certification.
Training employees and integrating a sustainability mind-set
Sustainability is not an individual program embraced by the top management; rather, it’s a company wide mind-set that should be integrated into day-to-day activities. Sustainability and waste reduction are constantly communicated to our employees across the board. Additionally, we encourage our employees to pursue related education and training, including NRMCA Concrete Sustainability Professional Certification.
Reducing and recycling waste
We constantly encourage recycling (plastics, paper, aluminum cans) throughout our facilities.