Holcim: Co-processing with PEF saved 60,000 MT of wastes from going to landfills

By Mike Baños
May 25, 2019


Imported PEF from Oz conform with DENR AO on Alternative Fuels & Raw Mats for Cement Kilns

Co-processing of plastic and other industrial and agricultural wastes actually helps ease the pressure on the environment, instead of further aggravating it.

This is the gist of the statement posted on its website dated 23 May 2019 by cement manufacturer Holcim Philippines which said the recent importation of nine container vans of what it termed as “processed engineered fuels (PEF) comply with DENR Administrative Order  2010-06 ( Guidelines on the Use of Alternative Fuels and Raw Materials in Cement Kilns.)

Holcim also said the Central Office of the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) had already sent an official letter to Bureau of Customs Port Collector John Simon dated May 21, 2019 informing Simon EMB has no objections to the importation and use of PEF as alternative fuels in cement kilns since it is declared as a product that underwent processing prior to shipment to the Philippines. 

Simon earlier asked Region 10 EMB Director Reynaldo Digamo if the importation of processed engineered fuels (PEF) requires an Importation Clearance from the EMB Central office.

“We are hoping that this clarifies the confusion regarding this matter. Our company maintains that the materials are PEF and these were accurately and truthfully declared as such. Acutely aware of the public outcry against the export of wastes to the Philippines and irresponsible and damaging waste disposal practices, Holcim Philippines’ importation and use of PEF as alternative fuel for its cement kilns is pursuant to its objective of contributing to the ongoing efforts to address the global waste problem.”

Holcim Philippines further declared in its statement that it has been a partner in the drive to address the waste management problem in the country.

“The company uses co-processing technology, wherein qualified materials such as non-recyclable plastics, rubber, textiles, cardboard and wood are used as an alternative to coal in making cement through waste management unit Geocycle.”

The cement maker further declared that Geocycle has actually saved 25,000 metric tons of non-recyclable plastic wastes from various industrial partners and local governments from ending up in landfills by using these as an alternative fuel to coal in its kilns.

Together with agricultural and industrial wastes, Geocycle has co-processed 600,000 tons of alternative fuel since 2015.

“Aside from providing a safe and environment-friendly waste management solution, co-processing is also an important part of Holcim Philippines’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions and consumption of non-renewable resources such as coal.”

Holcim explained how through co-processing, alternative fuels made from plastic, rubber, cardboard and wood are fed into the high-temperature, long residence time kilns along with coal and other raw materials of cement.

“This process completely transforms alternative fuel to energy for cement production. The technology is approved by the Philippine authorities and is widely used all over the world for waste management due to its proven advantages in environmental and safety performance.”

Holcim Philippines President and CEO John Stull said, “Geocycle is stepping up engagement with the private sector and studying possible collaboration with a number of local governments on providing its co-processing services.”

“Holcim Philippines is a committed partner in the country’s development and we are contributing more beyond building materials. Our Geocycle business is a clear example as it helps alleviate the country’s waste management challenges, which is expected to grow along with the economy,” he added.

Geocycle is looking to have pilot projects with a number of local governments in 2019 to demonstrate the advantages of its waste management service over current alternatives such as land filling. 


In a related post on its website, Holcim Philippines stressed Sustainability as among their core values.

“We believe it is a key driver of our business success and we strive to practice this every day in our operations. With this, we look to make a lasting positive impact and contribute more than building materials to the development of our country. This can be seen in our efforts to be respectful of the environment, ensure the health and safety of our people and partners and help uplift the communities that host us.”

“To be a better partner for progress, our company has set ambitious improvement targets within our operations and beyond our fences covering four focus areas: climate, circular economy, water and nature, and people and communities. These follow the LafargeHolcim Group’s 2030 Plan, which provides a long term road map to contribute to addressing key global challenges identified by the United Nations.

Not so fast

However, LGU officials from Misamis Oriental are not buying Holcim’s explanation. In a report published in another daily newspaper (not Mindanao Daily) recently elected provincial board member Gerardo Sabal III said he would ask the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to probe the shipment of nine container vans consigned to Holcim Philippines containing the controversial PEF which were unloaded at the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) in Tagoloan, Misamis Orientalon May 3. 

Despite the letter from EMB Central Office clearing the shipment, Bureau of Customs MCT Collector John Simon reportedly said the broker who facilitated the importation of the nine vans from Australia would also be held accountable due to some “committed infractions.”

A related report from another local daily said a joint inspection team from the Misamis Oriental and the BOC reportedly found “municipal wastes,” consisting of shredded garbage made from plastic, wood, and glass which would require an import permit prior to its importation.

The bureau also recommended that the shipment be issued a warrant of seizure and detention order, citing possible violations of Republic Act 9003 (Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000); RA 6969 (“Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990);” RA 8749 (“Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999); and 
RA 10863 (Customs Modernization and Tariff Act).



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