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Steinzeug-Keramo: Sustainable waste water disposal

Natural raw materials from regional sources, resource-efficient production, re-use: this is how Wienerberger’s subsidiary Steinzeug-Keramo contributes to the circular economy.

Steinzeug-Keramo

They do a great job, although we never see the result of their work: Steinzeug-Keramo’s 430 employees are the people behind the modern, sustainable sewer systems installed in many European cities and villages. In its production, the Wienerberger subsidiary relies on sustainable solutions and brings the principle of the circular economy to life.

We view our responsibility from a perspective of one hundred years into the future and beyond. Our objective is to ensure sustainable, cost-efficient and environment-friendly waste water disposal.

Ulrich Bohle

Head of Engineering Solutions & Services at Steinzeug-Keramo

Sustainable added value for the future

At its state-of-the-art production sites in Germany and Belgium, Steinzeug-Keramo produces pipes, shafts, fittings and accessories. Creating sustainable added value is the company’s first priority. “We view our responsibility from a perspective of one hundred years into the future and beyond. Our objective is to ensure sustainable, cost-efficient and environment-friendly waste water disposal. Climate-neutral production and environmental cycles play an important role for us”, says Ulrich Bohle, Head of Engineering Solutions & Services at Steinzeug-Keramo.

Regionally sourced natural raw materials – clay, refractories (fired ceramic material) and water – are the basis for Steinzeug-Keramo’s products. The durable pipes have a service life of over 100 years and are completely recyclable. They are made from up to 40% recycled material in a production process that uses green electricity from renewable sources of energy. In 2013, this added value was recognized through international Cradle to Cradle® certification

Best Practice: Cradle-to-Cradle certification

Rohstoffe Steinzeug-Keramo

Steinzeug-Keramo has always made every effort to achieve a closed-loop material cycle. Production is based on re-usable materials and environment-friendly processes. Since 2013, Steinzeug-Keramo’s ceramic pipes and fittings and its production processes have been Cradle to Cradle® certified.

Steinzeug-Keramo complies with the five-pillar principle of the Cradle to Cradle® regime, which covers all aspects ranging from input material to water usage, recycling, energy consumption and social responsibility. The life of Steinzeug-Keramo’s products begins and ends in a closed cycle. At the end of their life cycle, they can be recycled into the production process as raw material in the form of refractories.

Ceramic pipes with added value

Advanced process technologies enable the production of ceramic pipes for both open and trenchless construction methods. Owing to their material properties, the pipes meet all the requirements of modern sewer systems and prove their merits in municipal and industrial waste water management. They are ideally suited for cost-efficient, safe and sustainable waste water disposal. Ceramic pipes are environment-friendly, robust and require little maintenance. Their resistance to aggressive chemicals contained in waste water is an added advantage.

The environmental cycle at Steinzeug-Keramo

The environmental cycle at Steinzeug-Keramo

From raw material extraction to recycling

The environmental cycle starts with the extraction of raw material. All the raw material used comes from clay pits in the vicinity of the company’s production sites; depleted clay pits are renaturated. We make a special effort to use water sparingly in production. At the same time, we continuously optimize our energy consumption. To this end, we employ a fast firing technology, energy from biomass plants, heat exchangers and green electricity. Short transport distances and a sophisticated logistics system based on sustainable transport routes are good for the environment.

On account of their long service life and low maintenance requirements, products by Steinzeug help to promote the circular economy. They are 100% recyclable and can be fed back into the production cycle as input material. “At Steinzeug-Keramo, we have a great advantage: the raw materials are used for products that are easy to recycle. They can also be re-used in a different setting” says Ulrich Bohle.

At Steinzeug-Keramo, we have a great advantage: the raw materials are used for products that are easy to recycle. They can also be re-used in a different setting.

Ulrich Bohle

Head of Engineering Solutions & Services at Steinzeug-Keramo

Climate-neutral pipes and decarbonization

With its climate-neutral pipes, Wienerberger’s subsidiary is a standard-setter in terms of environmental protection. Its products are climate-neutral, from the extraction of the raw materials to delivery to the construction site. “For example, thanks to optimized production processes and the use of renewable energy sources, we have succeeded in achieving climate neutrality for a complete production line based on fast-firing technology. This is also reflected in our CO2 footprint”, explains Ulrich Bohle. The remaining emissions are compensated for through contributions to internationally audited climate action projects.

Another major issue pursued by Steinzeug-Keramo is decarbonization. Alongside the circular economy and biodiversity, decarbonization is one of the three priorities of the Wienerberger Sustainability Strategy 2020+. By 2050, Wienerberger’s entire product portfolio is to be decarbonized. Steinzeug-Keramo has already started working toward this objective. “Decarbonizing our own production demands a far greater effort than making our production climate-neutral. However, we are determined to make our contribution to a climate-friendly future and will therefore address this challenge with enthusiasm”, says Ulrich Bohle.

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