In order to obtain Cradle to Cradle certification, a material must be recyclable. For example, materials may be returned to a biological cycle as nutrients, or to a technical cycle as raw materials in a new product.
Troldtekt is committed to recycling – both of our own production waste and of end-of-life acoustic panels from buildings.
To ensure that our production waste is reused at the highest possible value level, we sort our waste into a number of fractions. This approach enables us to work with different solutions in both the biological and technical cycles – and to regularly trial new models.
Can be returned to nature
Through our Cradle to Cradle certification, the ingredients in Troldtekt are well-defined and we therefore have documentation that Troldtekt production waste can safely be returned to the natural cycle as a soil improver.
The cement in Troldtekt panels has a high lime content, which helps to neutralise the acids produced during composting. The wood in the panels is an organic material, and helps to prevent compost from compacting. This increases oxygenation in the composting process so that carbon and nutrients are recirculated.
Production waste is used in new cement
However, we have decided to focus especially on the technical cycle, as this will allow us to derive value from both production waste and end-of-life Troldtekt acoustic panels from demolished buildings.
We are working closely with Aalborg Portland on returning dust and offcuts from our edging workshop to the technical cycle in their cement production. The wood content replaces fossil fuels as energy for cement production, and the cement becomes a raw material in new cement. In 2020 alone, Aalborg Portland received 3,347 tonnes of offcuts as return loads in the trucks that deliver cement and would otherwise drive back empty from our factory.
The next step will be for broken or damaged panels from our production to be returned to the technical cycle at Aalborg Portland.
Pilot project on demolition waste
The ambition is for our cooperation with Aalborg Portland to be developed to also cover the demolition waste and waste from building sites that currently end up at the municipal recycling centres.
This is a more complicated waste fraction as Troldtekt cement-bonded wood wool has a long useful life, and end-of-life acoustic panels can therefore easily be 50-70 years old. Because we have no way of knowing whether the panels have been treated with harmful chemicals during that period, they cannot be returned to the biological cycle. Cement production is a thermal process that renders harmless any surface treatments, and end-of-life Troldtekt panels can therefore be added to Aalborg Portland’s cement production without any problems.
However, we need to find the right logistics partners who can help collect cement-bonded wood wool from Danish recycling centres. In 2021, we will be launching a pilot project together with the Municipality of Ringkøbing-Skjern – and in the next phase with a total of seven Danish municipalities. The project is intended to pave the way for scaling the scheme.
Considerable environmental benefits from recycling
There are considerable environmental benefits to be gained from returning Troldtekt panels to either a biological or technical cycle rather than incinerating them. Incineration should only be an option in cases where the only alternative is landfill, which will always be the least environmentally friendly solution.
Our existing partnerships – together with new methods and pilot projects – are therefore important elements in our work with the circular economy, the ambition being to ensure that Troldtekt creates the greatest possible value in biological and technical cycles.