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Sat August 08 2020

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Cemex invests in start-up creating aggregates from waste plastic

2 Jul Cemex Ventures is investing in a start-up that turns waste plastic into artificial gravel.

Arqlite produces aggregates from waste
Arqlite produces aggregates from waste

Arqlite SPC was the winner of the Cemex Ventures Global Construction Startup Competition 2019 . The 2020 competition remains open until July 26, 2020.

California-based Arqlite SPC processes unrecyclable plastic waste into artificial gravel, avoiding the use of natural quarry aggregates and boulders in the production of light concrete and in drainage beds for construction and landscaping.

Cemex Ventures said that new alliance with Arqlite SPC will enable it to give a second life to plastic and reduce the carbon footprint and operating costs of handling and producing construction materials such as aggregates and concrete.

Arqlite SPC began its research and development process in Argentina in 2016. It has developed technology that allows most of the plastic waste to be recycled instead of disposal at a landfill or polluting the environment. Cemex said that the light aggregates it produces multiply thermal and acoustic insulation by ten times compared to mineral aggregates and offer better construction quality and higher energy conservation.

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The aggregate is three times lighter than stone; benefits include lower transportation costs. The low thermal conductivity of plastic reduces its reaction to extreme temperature variations and, therefore, the possibility of fracturing or altering the concrete mix, said Cemex.

The process is claimed to be capable of processing the vast majority of plastic waste as raw material.

This investment is part of Cemex's ambition to deliver net-zero CO2 concrete to all of its customers globally by 2050.

“Plastic waste processing is a global problem with no large-scale solution so far,” said Cristina Aparicio, head of Cemex Ventures investment in Arqlite. “We believe that, due to the large volume of material used by the construction industry, we can recycle much of this plastic waste, making us a solution to this problem, while generating construction materials with better functionality and a lower carbon footprint. That is why this investment has a twofold mission: to help mitigate the great problem of plastic waste and, simultaneously, to produce construction materials with a low CO2 footprint.”

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