New standards being developed by ASTM’s Sustainability committee could affect the way concrete producers track materials and operate their plants. Many producers such as Westroc, Inc., based in Pleasant Grove, Utah, are participating in environmental benchmarking programs such as NRMCA’s Green Star Certification for ready mixed concrete plants. Westroc has certified plants in Springville and American Fork (shown here).
Concrete producers are familiar with ASTM and its collection of guides, standards, and specifications related to mixing, placing, and testing concrete. In 2008, ASTM created Committee E60 on Sustainability with the charge of developing standards related to sustainability and sustainable development. In the past five years, the committee has grown to about 550 members and has added four technical subcommittees: Buildings and Construction, Hospitality, Sustainable Manufacturing, and General Sustainability. ASTM E60 is now developing two types of standards that could directly affect concrete producers.
Begun in response to tension between Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative certification systems in the wood industry, the new Standard Practice for Chain-of-Custody for the Content of Manufactured Products (work item 24856) is being developed under ASTM Subcommittee E60.80, General Sustainability. The draft standard will apply to all industries, including concrete.
The document’s primary purpose is to standardize how product information is tracked. This is to ensure, among that the attributes or characteristics of the product of interest (such as sourcing from a specific location or sourcing from a supplier with certain safety record) are maintained along the supply chain. Although only a draft, the key components of the standard are requirements for documentation of chain-of-custody procedures and record keeping.
For example, say a customer requested aggregate from ABC quarry because the quarry only used renewable energy at the site. A concrete producer could use this ASTM standard to document that aggregate from the renewable-energy-only quarry (ABC) was used in the mix.
ASTM Subcommittee E60.13 on Sustainable Manufacturing, formed during the fall 2012 ASTM committee week, is proposing several new work items:
- Work item 35702, New Guide for the Evaluation of Manufacturing Processes for Sustainable Improvement;
- Work item 35703, New Terminology for Sustainable Manufacturing;
- Work item 35705, New Guide for Sustainability Improvement of Manufacturing Processes;
- Work item 38312, New Classification for Waste Generated at Manufacturing Facilities and Associated Claims
The common theme among the standards and the subcommittee is manufacturing. These are potentially applicable to all manufacturing facilities, whether a carpet manufacturer, ready-mix producer, or masonry plant. Because these standards are just beginning to be developed, it will be some time before they are released. Now is the time for producers to get involved in their development.
It’s hard to track all of the sustainability-related standards, rating systems, and codes being developed. The NRMCA, NPCA, PCA, and PCI attend many of these meetings, and some regularly publish committee and standards updates. activities. If your company can’t send representatives to these meetings, check if your national trade association is attending.