Use of natural resources
The most important of our natural resources is sand. Sand is extracted from borrow areas, which clients can designate on an individual project basis. In addition, Boskalis has access to licensed sand borrow areas around the world. Our aim is to re-use as much of the sand as possible for land reclamation when deepening waterways and ports. Not all the sand that we wish to use for this purpose is suitable, but thanks to innovations and research we are now able to re-use sand and sediment that was previously unusable. The innovative building with silt on the Marker Wadden nature restoration project is a good example of this.
We also continue to search for ways of substituting sand with other materials. For example in 2015 we teamed up with HVC, the largest non-commercial waste collection company in the Netherlands, to start building the first large-scale soilwashing plant in the world for washing incinerator bottom ash, the residue left after the incineration of domestic waste in Waste-to-Energy plants. Over the past few years, successful pilots have allowed us to demonstrate that clean bottom ash can be used as land fill as a substitute building material for sand in, for example, road construction. The plant is expected to come on stream in the second half of 2016.
Although sand is a renewable rather than a finite resource, in some areas we are seeing its use increasingly restricted by legislation and regulations. Backed by scientific research from the Building with Nature program, we are able to advise our clients on making responsible choices when selecting sand borrow areas and sand extraction methods. We also can advise our clients to opt for a combination of sand replenishment and planting mangroves for coastal protection, as is the case in Indonesia.
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