Resource efficiency in the clay brick and roofing tile industryPart I: General introduction

In response to the global scarcity of raw materials, the Federal German government has launched a national resource efficiency programme. Goal of this programme is to assure a sustainable supply of raw materials. The extraction of raw materials is to be massively limited while the same economic performance is to be maintained. Conversely, raw materials efficiency is to be improved by means of recycling. At the first glance it would seem as if the clay brick and tile industry would not be affected by this at all. After all, ample clay can be found in Germany. But this impression is misleading. There is already a shortage of good clay today. It is not for nothing that so many clay brick and roofing tile plants are dependent on supraregional clay suppliers. Can one million tonnes potential of waste materials solve the problem? In a series in several parts, Zi provides information about this highly topical issue.

1 Numbers and facts

Around 60 bill. t/pa abiotic raw materials (mineral resources, energy resources, ores) are consumed worldwide today, almost 50% more than in 1980, with an upwards trend. The worldwide consumption of clay amounts to around 430 mill. t/pa [1], Germany accounting for a disproportionately high share of around 25 mill. t/pa clay (»1). The increasing consumption of raw materials is triggered primarily by the strong growth in the world population and the increasing per capita consumption in threshold countries such as Brazil, China and India. Exploding raw material prices, like...

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