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Alternative to asbestos disposal

Updated 20 June 2022.

As specialists in Asbestos surveys, testing and removal, Asbestos Limited, based in Kent, are always interested to follow new and sustainable means to manage the disposal of Asbestos.

Thermal Recycling, based in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, opened a new demonstration plant in November 2020 to provide what it claims is the world’s first socially and environmentally responsible alternative to asbestos disposal.

Image courtesy of Thermal Recycling

Image courtesy of Thermal Recycling

This demonstration plant converts asbestos into asbestos-free material to produce sustainable aggregates.

Asbestos is diverted away from landfill, converted into a new material that does not contain asbestos with the end result being a sustainable aggregate.

“We are delighted to announce the opening of our demonstration plant,” said chairman Graham Gould.  “We can convert asbestos into asbestos-free material on an industrial scale, in a commercially viable and environmentally safe way. We can’t continue putting asbestos in landfill sites for future generations to deal with”.

Image courtesy of Thermal Recycling

Image courtesy of Thermal Recycling

Thermal Recycling has an Environment Agency permit to treat 29,500 tonnes a year of cement bonded asbestos containing chrysotile. 

Working closely with the Health and Safety Executive, Thermal Recycling has used the HSE's Science and Research Centre based in Buxton to analyse treated material. 

Demonstrating its innovative approach to asbestos management, Thermal Recycling was a finalist in the category ‘Engineering Innovator of the Year’ in 2021's Innovation Awards organised by the Technology Supply Chain and continues to collaborate with housing developers such as Lovell to divert more asbestos away from landfill sites.

Thermal Recycling estimates around 40% of UK asbestos taken to landfill is in the form of roof sheets, which are put in a skip and taken to landfill. 

Asbestos is responsible for the deaths of around 5,000 workers in the UK each year and can be found in buildings built before 2000. (The latest Asbestos-related disease statistics in Great Britain, 2021 were published in December 2021.)

Any building built before 2000 has this risk and you must assume that there are Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) present, until proved otherwise by a specialist Asbestos contractor such as Asbestos Limited.

Under the new process, Thermal Recycling collects the asbestos and the pioneering treatment facility converts the cement roof sheets containing chrysotile asbestos. Thermal treatment changes the chemical and physical composition of the asbestos and the asbestos-free material is then crushed and a sustainable aggregate produced.

Think you have an issue with Asbestos?

If you've read this article and think you may need some advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch. It is far safer (and cheaper) to manage your Asbestos risk in advance than it is to manage an Asbestos exposure and site contamination after the fact.

Asbestos management is complex, but with our help it doesn't have to be complicated.