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Very few people are aware that sand is not simply sand and that we do not have endless supplies of this material. Singapore is currently looking at ways to use processed incineration bottom ash (IBA) in construction materials instead of gravel and sand. The country’s National Environment Agency (NEA) has commissioned field trials to be carried out, which also involve REMEX Mineralstoff’s Singapore subsidiary.
The main difficulty of this project is producing a material that meets the necessary structural requirements and fulfils the very stringent limit values regarding pollutant content. These are much stricter than German and European standards, as two-thirds of Singapore’s surface area are a water catchment area. The IBA being used for the field trials comes from REMEX’s plant in Singapore, which was officially opened by the country’s Environment Minister Masagos Zulkifli in 2015. The facility, which is located in Singapore’s Tuas district, currently processes around 550,000 tonnes of IBA a year – material that is produced by Singapore’s five household waste incineration plants. Both the ferrous metal and valuable non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium and copper, are first removed from the IBA for recycling.
IBA from Singapore is processed at REMEX’s plant in the district of Tuas.
The mineral fraction is the largest volume of material left over at the end of the process and this is currently being sent to landfill. This situation, however, should change in the near future to further protect the environment. This project also involves REMEX collaborating closely with its Dutch subsidiary HEROS Sluiskil B.V., which is further processing the ash in its facilities before it is used in the field trials in Singapore.
The goal of the Singapore Ministry of the Environment is for the NEWSand initiative to enable the unrestricted use of recycled IBA as a construction material. This would help the Government to meet its target of landfilling 30% less waste a year, from 2030 onwards, in order to extend the lifespan of Singapore’s only landfill beyond 2035. This project highlights REMEX’s expertise in supplying recycled raw materials for road construction work and earthworks projects and will help Singapore on its way to becoming a zero waste nation.