Materials efficiency and recycling

We have made positive progress against all our key metrics. The amount of crushed road waste or recycled asphalt planings (RAP) used in new asphalt mixes has doubled since 2014. The average RAP content increased to over 11 per cent in 2016 and continues to rise, led by our subsidiary MQP which has one of the best records in the industry at 19.3 per cent.

Mixing RAP into asphalt makes sense for customers, the environment and the business. It means less virgin aggregate and bitumen are needed, and waste to landfill is reduced, though there is a trade off between the use of more recycled asphalt and energy consumption.The UK specification allows up to 50 per cent RAP in various asphalt products and we continue to develop new techniques to increase the content in our mixes.

There was also a big increase in by-products or waste used in cement production – mainly pulverised fuel ash – and a rise in the amount of recycled aggregate used in concrete.

The cement replacement Regen (ground granulated blastfurnace slag) reduces embodied CO2 in concrete and provides a number of other benefits. Its use in ready-mixed concrete means we have one of the highest cement replacement rates in the UK market. We are working towards our target of 45 per cent cement replacement by 2020 and are developing mixes with higher Regen content. We are also communicating the CO2 benefits of these products to customers and specifiers through a national programme of CPD courses on the ‘Benefits of cement substitutes’.

Chart - Concrete sites recovering surplus.
Recycled and secondary materials data
Recycled and secondary materials
2010 (baseline)
By-products or waste used as raw material in cement





Alternative materials as a % of total cement production

Aggregates recycled and sold





% of total sales

Recycled materials in asphalt (Hanson plants)





% of recycled asphalt planings and foundry sand used in asphalt

Recycled materials in asphalt (MQP plants)

% of recycled asphalt planings and foundry sand used in asphalt

Recycled materials in concrete
0.08%0.18%0.06%0.22%% of recycled aggregate used in ready-mixed concrete
Sites which recover surplus concrete
65%99%97%98%Sites recovering over 50% of process waste (inc third party recycling)
Cement replacements in concrete (Regen, PFA)
38.4%37.2%37.0%38.9%% of cement substitutes in ready-mixed concrete

Data corrections for 2015 due to improvements in reporting integrity.

Cement data now reported as percentages of production (previously reported as per cent of raw materials).

Targets: Increase cement replacements in concrete to 45 per cent; recycled aggregate in asphalt (excluding filler dust) to 10 per cent and concrete plants recycling surplus concrete to 95 per cent – all by 2020.