Guidelines on pre- and co-processing of waste in cement production

GIZ, FHNW, LH and Geocycle have updated the 2006 Guidelines on Co-processing Waste Materials in Cement Production to support further development of environmentally sound and safe pre- and co-processing in developing countries.


Objective of the new guidelines:

  • Contribute to improve poor waste management practices, in particular in developing low and middle income countries
  • Promote Pre- and Co-processing as a competitive and sustainable waste management solution
  • Facilitate close collaboration between the public and private sectors on the topic
  • Set ambitious global standards for companies active in Pre- and Co-Processing
  • Share good practices and propose means for capacity building to ensure sound application of the technology
  • Provide links to organizations, institutions and companies active in the field of pre- and co-processing

Principles and Requirements

Waste Hierarchy & Circular Economy
  • Pre- and co-processing shall respect the waste hierarchy and therefore don’t hamper waste reduction, reuse and recycling.
  • Pre- and co-processing shall be regarded as an integrated part of modern waste management, as it provides an environmentally sound mineral recycling and energy recovery solution.
  • Pre- and co-processing can be regarded as a contribution to the circular economy by reducing the use of fossil fuels and primary raw materials as well as ensuring clean material cycles through elimination of harmful substances.
Legal & Institutional Framework
  • Compliance with all relevant laws and regulations has to be assured. Pre- and co-processing shall be in line with relevant international agreements (e.g. Basel and Stockholm Conventions).
  • Effective monitoring by an independent environmental regulator, that has sufficient institutional capacity shall be ensured.
  • Country-specific requirements and needs shall be reflected in regulations and procedures.
  • If a local legal framework for pre- and co-processing is not existent and/or consistent, international best practices shall be applied and build-up of the required capacity as well as the set-up of institutional arrangements ensured.
  • Additional emissions and other negative effects on the environment from pre- and co-processing shall be prevented or kept at minimum.
  • Emissions to air and water from co-processing shall not be higher than from cement production without co-processing.
  • The cement products (concrete, mortar) shall not be used as a sink for potentially toxic elements (e.g. heavy metals).
Operation & Quality Control
  • Only appropriate waste streams shall be selected. These shall be pre-processed to ensure quality control, proper handling and stable kiln operation during co-processing.
  • Companies engaged in pre- and co-processing must be qualified. They shall ensure continuous control and monitoring of inputs and relevant parameters of their production processes.
  • The quality of the cement products (concrete, mortar) remain unchanged.
Health & Safety
  • Companies active in pre- and co-processing shall establish appropriate risk controls to provide healthy and safe working conditions for employees and contractors.
  • Companies shall have good safety compliance records as well as personnel, processes, and systems committed to protecting health and safety in place.
Inclusivity and Engagement
  • Companies active in pre- and co-processing shall engage regularly and communicate transparently with the public, relevant authorities and other stakeholders.
  • Country-specific and local needs as well as different cultural contexts shall be taken into account when implementing pre- and co-processing.
  • Companies engaged in pre- and co-processing shall consult and collaborate with actors in the existing local waste management value chain, including informal waste workers.
Economic & Financial
  • Pre- and Co-processing projects shall be based on a financially sustainable business model, which brings value to all involved stakeholders and local communities.
  • Financing mechanisms shall be in place to ensure that interventions have financing covered in the medium to long term.
  • Monitoring and auditing systems need to be in place to enable successful implementation.
  • Capacity building and training at all levels is essential.