Colas is one of the five largest recyclers in the world

Colas is one of the five largest recyclers in the world, regardless of the sector or type of material. As a major producer and consumer of construction materials, Colas has developed ways to recover and recycle waste produced in road construction as well as materials resulting from demolition or renovation from public works or other industries.

This approach is part of the broader context of the circular economy with a reduction in construction costs, savings in materials, transport and energy (carbon). By approaching “zero waste” in its public works activity, Colas enables each region to rebuild itself using its own materials.

It is estimated that the average annual per capita consumption of aggregates in the advanced countries has reached 7 tonnes (only per capita water consumption is higher), more than half of which is consumed in public works. These figures clearly show the recycling potential of the Group’s business activities. Colas devotes considerable resources to this end, with a network of plants able to recover and treat all types of debris, construction materials and industrial waste to produce gravel and aggregates. In 2018, 9 million tonnes were recycled by Colas throughout the world, corresponding to 10% of the Group’s total production from its quarries and gravel pits, equivalent to the output of 17 medium-sized quarries.

Bitumen is derived from petroleum and is becoming a rather rare commodity as refineries tend to favour other types of products. For this reason, the recovery of bitumen from worn road pavement surfaces is particularly expedient. In 2018, Colas used an average of 15% recycled asphalt mixes in its worldwide asphalt mix production, thus recovering about 299,000 tonnes of bitumen, equivalent to the annual bitumen yield of a medium-sized refinery.

on-site recycling: the on-site recycling of pavement is an especially interesting technique used to limit purchases of materials and reduce transport costs (and thus our carbon footprint). More than 3.3 million sq.m of pavement were recycled on site in 2018.

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