HOLCIM Philippines, Inc. is increasing the use of waste materials as alternative fuel in cement production, the listed cement manufacturer said on Monday.

In a statement, the company said it was committing to increase its consumption of the coal alternative in its operations to help lower costs.

The move means that the company will boost its co-processing operations of alternative fuels and raw materials through waste management unit Geocycle.

“Aside from its business benefits, our Geocycle unit enables us to further contribute to Philippine development in a sustainable manner,” Holcim Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer John Stull was quoted as saying in the statement.

“Through our co-processing operations, we are able to lower our carbon footprint and help ease the waste management challenges of the country while producing an essential building material for development,” he added.

Holcim Philippines reported using more than 170,000 tons of waste materials last year as alternative fuel and raw material for its production. This translated to 38 days of avoiding coal in cement production, and therefore, lower carbon emissions from the company’s operations.

The process works by using segregated wastes from local governments near Holcim Philippines’ plants in Luzon and Mindanao. The waste is pre-processed to become fuel that will be used in cement production.

“In co-processing, qualified waste materials (are) pre-processed as alternative fuel and fed into the high-temperature kilns along with other raw materials to produce cement. This process transform wastes to alternative fuel and converts them into energy for cement production,” it said.

“The technology is recognized globally and is approved by the Philippine authorities due to its proven advantages in environmental and safety performance,” it added.

Holcim Philippines has plants in La Union, Bulacan, Batangas, Misamis Oriental and Davao. Its earnings last year rose 41% to P3.59 billion due to its efforts to increase efficiencies and lower costs.

The company is in the process of being acquired by listed conglomerate San Miguel Corp. The $2.15-billion deal is being reviewed by the Philippine Competition Commission.

Shares in Holcim at the stock exchange shed 88 centavos or 6.72% to P12.22 each on Monday. — Denise A. Valdez