Addressing Sustainability and Efficiency

At Haldane Construction, we’re always looking for ways to improve our sustainability and efficiency. One area that caught our attention was the wastage from purchasing blue circle general-purpose paper-bagged cement. Despite our best efforts to cover them, these bags were not weatherproof and often suffered in damp conditions. This meant that the cement was setting in the bag, making it unusable and slowing down on-site production.

Initially, we tried to solve this issue this by storing the cement in our site storage containers. However, this solution wasn’t ideal. Not only was this taking up valuable space, but it also added another cost to our operations. It was clear that we needed a better solution—one that would address both the sustainability and cost impact on our business and the environment.

After some investigation, we found a promising alternative: Blue Circle Mastercrete plastic-bagged cement. Although slightly more expensive—by around £1 per bag—this type of cement is fully weatherproof and waterproof. This meant we could store it outside without any cover, eliminating the need for internal storage and, most importantly, reducing wastage. We did have some reservations, particularly about the environmental impact of using plastic bags. However, further research revealed to us that the manufacturer, Tarmac, uses fully recyclable plastic bags made from 50% recycled plastics. Additionally, the cement is produced locally at Tarmac’s Dunbar cement plant in Scotland, minimising the carbon footprint associated with transportation.

We were delighted to be invited by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) for a tour of the Tarmac cement factory in Dunbar. The visit provided us with a first-hand look at the cement production process and the company’s sustainability efforts. We learned about Tarmac’s innovative methods to reduce their carbon footprint, such as using 50% recycled waste like old tires and sewage pellets to heat their kilns. We also got to see the plastic bags we now purchase being filled and transported around the packing plant.

With this, we’re confident that switching to plastic-bagged cement was the right and sustainable choice. We’re proud to have made this small but significant change to build sustainability, save money, and – of course – contribute positively to the environment!