SKOKIE, Ill. – The Holcim (US) Inc. cement plant in Theodore, Ala., received the Environmental Performance Award from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and Cement Americas magazine as part of the 2011 Cement Industry Energy and Environment Awards. The award was presented at PCA's Spring Meeting in Chicago.
This honor recognizes facilities that take steps beyond those contained in environmental laws, regulations, and permits to minimize their impact on the environment. The plant was also a runner-up in the Outreach category.
In 2010, the Holcim Theodore facility more than met its corporate requirement to "improve and demonstrate continued sustainable environmental performance." The plant had major emission reductions in particulate matter and nitrogen oxides when compared to 2009, exceeding state and federal requirements. In 2010, the facility focused efforts on utilizing alternative fuels in place of traditional fuels. It conserved a tremendous amount of traditional fossil fuels buy utilizing fuels such as used tires (1.1 million), used oil and oil materials (including 10,000 gallons of site-generated oil), wood chips, and plastic byproducts.
The Theodore plant even stepped up to assist with the disposal of oil absorbent materials resulting from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 1,000 tons were utilized in their kiln system rather than being landfilled. The plant was able to increase its alternative mineral component in the final cement product by 20 percent compared to 2009, further limiting carbon dioxide production.
The Holcim plant and its employees in Theodore support a range of environmental projects in their community including cleanup of the Theodore Industrial Canal, Derelict Crab Trap Removal Day, and Used Electronics Recycling Days, which collected more than 500,000 pounds of unwanted electronic devices in 2010.
"The cement industry was among the first to tackle the issue of climate change and we continue to be on the forefront of developing ways to reduce both energy needs and reliance on fossil fuels," said Brian McCarthy, PCA president/CEO. "Practices like those at the Theodore plant illustrate the innovative actions being taken to ensure our plants are productive and good stewards."
The Energy & Environmental Awards honor individual cement facilities that exemplify the spirit of continuous environmental improvement and support this spirit with action. These plants go beyond government regulations and local laws to ensure that their processes contributed to making their communities better places to live and work. Five categories are recognized: Outreach, Environmental Performance, Land Stewardship, Innovation, and Energy Efficiency. Additionally, PCA presents a special honor to a plant demonstrating excellence in multiple categories.
The awards program was created in 2000 by the Portland Cement Association as part of its renewed environment and energy strategic plan for the U.S. cement industry. The awards honor activities conducted during the previous calendar year, and the program is open to any cement manufacturing plant in North America. Judges for the 2011 awards represent independent groups such as National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, U.S. EPA-ENERGY STAR, Cement Americas and the U.S. Geological Survey.
Based in Skokie, Ill., the Portland Cement Association represents cement companies in the United States and Canada. It conducts market development, engineering, research, education, and public affairs programs.