Lafarge North America’s Alpena Plant has won national awards for its environmental efforts, energysaving innovations and safety record.
In April, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) awarded its third annual Cement Industry Environment and Energy Awards to six U.S. plants — including four Lafarge plants — with top honors going to the Alpena Plant for Overall Environmental Excellence.
Alpena is Lafarge’s largest cement plant in North America and one of the longest continuously operating cement plants in the United States. In operation since 1908, the site has been in use since the late 1800s, yet new investments have made Alpena one of the most environmentally advanced cement plants in the world.
A major initiative cited in the PCA award was the company’s rehabilitation of the abandoned Paxton Quarry on the property. Lafarge converted the old shale quarry into a lake, grading the embankments to create a natural appearance and provide access for wildlife. Working with local elementary schools and community partners, the company has also restored the area surrounding the lake to create wildlife habitats and nesting sites for migrating mallard ducks. Elementary school children helped plant more than 700 trees on the site, including cherry, oak, pine and spruce trees. In addition, the company stocked the lake with more than 30,000 fish, including fathead minnows, rainbow trout, catfish and bluegills.
The PCA also recognized the Alpena Plant for manufacturing innovations that reduce waste and conserve energy. Lafarge installed a system that reuses cement kiln dust created during manufacturing, reducing byproducts that would go to landfills. In addition, the plant captures excess heat created during the manufacturing process to generate power. Using energy that would otherwise be wasted, this system generates 95 percent of the electricity used at the plant, helping to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
PCA also recognized the Alpena Plant with two awards for its outstanding safety record: the Safety Commendation award for one year without a lost-time accident, and the Safety Excellence award for 1,000,000 hours with no lost-time accidents.
Worldwide, Lafarge has been recognized as a leader in environmental stewardship, with active land management and reclamation programs in 75 countries. Lafarge partners with WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and the Wildlife Habitat Council on a variety of environmental initiatives.