Sustainable clay production – minimizing environmental impact

Minimizing the environmental impact of our ceramic production is vitally important for Wienerberger. This includes a responsible way of operating our clay extraction sites, energy efficiency, reduced fresh water consumption, climate protection, increased use of recycled materials and renaturalization of former clay pits.

Clay, a natural and recyclable material – supporting regional business

Clay is a natural raw material, which is extracted locally. That way clay building materials don´t have to be transported over long distances. Brick and tile production creates jobs and the entire value chain remains in the region.

In harmony with nature

Wienerberger pays special attention to the protection of the habitats of endangered animals and plant species as well as rare and fragile eco-systems during the extraction process. Resource conservation during clay extraction and the remediation of depleted extraction sites are equally important. There are various possibilities of restoring depleted sites for other uses, such as agriculture, a natural biotope, or conversion into recreational areas. If possible, Wienerberger opts for renaturalization of former clay pits; as such areas often provide valuable alternative habitats for endangered animals and plants, they support biodiversity.

Energy efficiency and climate protection

Most of the energy used in ceramic production is thermal energy (natural and liquefied gas or oil), which is required to heat the tunnel kilns. The heat released during the cooling process is recovered and recycled into the drying process. Electrical energy plays a minor role in ceramic production. We are exploring the possibilities of substituting alternative fuels for fossil energy sources. Wienerberger implemented the CBME Energy Award to support the efforts of our employees with an internal price.

Water consumption

In our ceramic production fresh water consumption and waste water disposal do not exert significant pressures on the environment as many of the Wienerberger plants have introduced closed waste water cycles. Waste water is collected in tanks, treated and returned into production.

Waste management and recycling

Nearly all the waste resulting from ceramic production is non-hazardous. It is separated, collected and recycled or disposed appropriately. The quantities of hazardous waste, e.g. oily rags, are very small.
Internally incurred production waste, such as broken or defective products, can be reprocessed and recycled in our production. External recycling materials are used as additives for certain product groups and generally processed together with the raw material mix during preparation. Recycling materials from biogenic sources (sawdust, paper fibres, sunflower hulls, etc.) are also used as pore-forming agents in clay blocks. Recycling is part of our very plant management strategy.
 
Learn more about our world of brick production here .

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