Circular Economy



Transition to circular economy


Zero waste to landfill by 2030

Recycle and reuse over 70 million tonnes of other industries waste and resources in our processes and products by 2030

Reduce water consumption by 25% per tonne of product by 2030

Collaborate to enable material efficiency in project design and delivery

“Tarmac is committed to delivering a sustainable, net zero future. Every year in the UK, we reuse thousands of tonnes of road planings, which would otherwise end up in landfill.”

Tim Smith, Tarmac Senior Technical Manager

Adopting the concept of the circular economy allows a focus on designing out waste from every stage of a product’s life cycle and extending its useful life. The transition to a circular economy requires collaboration across the construction value chain, eliminating waste from our operations, recycling materials from other industries and identifying opportunities to conserve water.


50% recycled plastic
in Tarmac’s Blue Circle plastic packaging

Tarmac recycles 92%
of the waste we produce across our operations

Over 911,000 tonnes
recycled asphalt planings used in new asphalt

Designing out waste

Adopting the concept of a circular economy allows a focus on designing out waste from every stage of a products lifecycle and extending its useful life. We work to design durable products that will last longer and that can still be efficiently reused at the end of their current life, to reduce waste. The transition to a circular economy requires collaboration across the construction value chain, eliminating waste from all our operations and recycling materials from other industries.

Tarmac is a leading supplier of recycled aggregates, and we have developed a range of recycled solutions that reduce waste, preserve mineral resources and reduce the carbon footprint of our products. We now also offer recycled sand and single sizes for use in a variety of drainage and bedding applications.

Using recycled materials

Tarmac is a net user of waste; this means we reuse and recycle many times more materials than the waste we generate. We want to design out waste from every stage of the product life-cycle and make sure we extend its use. Waste-derived fuels, waste materials and by-products from other sectors serve as valuable fuels or raw materials to replace all, or a portion of the virgin materials, used in our products.

We are leading the way in recycling old road surfaces (Recycled Asphalt Planings, RAP) into new. We use construction, demolition and excavation (CD&E) waste and by-products from steelmaking as aggregates. In addition, we use large quantities of waste and by-products from the steelmaking and power industries as cementitious additions to concrete (ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS), fly ash).

We also process and use selected waste materials as fuel for our cement operations in a process called co-processing, whereby we not only recover the heat value of the waste but also the mineral contact forms a valuable part of the product. We recycle most of the waste we produce from our operations. This all adds up and is a huge contribution to tackling society’s waste problem.

In 2021, we used over 7.2 million tonnes of waste and secondary materials from other sectors as raw materials for our products and as fuel in the manufacturing process. This is a great start to our goal of recycling and reusing over 70 million tonnes of waste from other industries by 2030. In 2021, we recycled 92% of the waste generated across our operations and only sent around 21,000 tonnes of waste to landfill.


tonnes of waste from other sectors used in 2021

Hazardous waste to landfill
Non-hazardous waste to landfill
Inert waste to landfill
Hazardous waste recycled
Non-hazardous waste recycled
Inert waste recycled
Total produced
Total recycled
Total landfill

We use old road surfacing (Recycled Asphalt Planings, RAP) in the manufacture of our asphalt products and to use on new roads. In 2021, we recycled over 911,000 tonnes of RAP in our asphalt products, this represents a contribution of 18% of our total asphalt production.

Tarmac helped to provide a sustainable solution for the Liverpool2 project. We worked with the main contractor for the project to identify how almost one metre deep of infill could be removed and recycled. We were able to provide a cost neutral solution that diverted the materials from going to landfill.

We recycle tyres in our rubber modified asphalts to turn waste tyres into new roads. This could help to reduce the 120,000 tonnes of rubber waste exported from the UK annually. We have also calculated that it is possible to reuse the rubber of up to 500 waste tyres for every kilometre of highway surfaced with the new material, depending on the thickness of the road.

Minimising packaging waste

Most of Tarmac’s products are delivered in bulk with no packaging, which means we use relatively small amounts of packaging.

In 2021, we worked with our suppliers to increase the amount of the recycled content in the plastic packaging we use. As a result, Tarmac became the first major cement manufacturer to use 50% recycled plastic in our packaging with the use of our new all-weather, fully recyclable hybrid bags. The new packaging also features clearer recycling labelling and information to encourage customers to ‘empty, rinse, recycle’ and dispose of the packaging responsibly.

These changes alone remove almost 500 tonnes of single use plastic from our packed Blue Circle products. We also switched to 50% recycled plastics in our Post Consumer Recyclate (PCR) tubs, which are used for our DIY project materials.

A review was completed to reduce the amount of stretch wrap we use for our packed aggregates which will deliver a 45% reduction in plastic usage per year through reducing the thickness of our stretch wrap. We also converted all of our polypropylene (PP) strapping to a more sustainable option of Polyester (PET). The PET strapping is a 100% recyclable material and means we will reduce our virgin plastic usage by 55 tonnes annually.

Packaging supplied (tonnes) Total

Using waste as a fuel

We use waste from other industries for our products but also to fuel the manufacturing of our products. This not only reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfill but also allows us to use lower carbon fuels. In 2021, we used over 101,000 tonnes of waste derived fuels, such as biomass, across our business.

Conserving water

Water is used in all aspects of our lives and is essential for building communities, growing businesses and improving the natural environment. Water is a finite source and so as our population grows, so does the importance of water conservation. We have a responsibility to lead our industry in protecting local water resources and promote responsible water use. In order for us to transition to a circular economy it is important to identify opportunities to conserve water across our business.

In 2021, we used a total of 18.3 million cubic metres of water, of which 13.4 million cubic metres were abstracted from ground water and surface water sources, 3.1 million cubic metres from potable water supply and around 1.7 million cubic metres from recycled wated systems.

Million cubic metres
Ground and surface water
Potable water
Recycled water

Looking forward

It is important to us that we continue to move towards a circular economy through our products and operations. To do this all of our sites will complete a site waste management plan so that we can understand our waste streams and take the steps needed to design out waste from our operations. All sites will also complete a water management plan and report on their site water usage to help us reduce our water consumption. We will continue to review opportunities to optimise our use of recycled materials in our products and our packaging.