Lafarge Canada launches RAP pilot project - finding ways to build cities with reduced GHG emissions


OCTOBER 2020, VANCOUVER, BC: Lafarge Canada is pleased to announce a new pilot project in collaboration with the City of Richmond to replace virgin aggregates with a recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) mix. One of several circular initiatives, the process of replacing virgin aggregates with recycled asphalt pavement significantly diminishes the depletion of natural resources and reduces carbon emissions while diverting truckloads of asphalt from landfills. 

Lafarge has been producing RAP asphalt mixes for over 50 years locally and has made significant technological and process improvements to ensure the highest quality and consistency in the asphalt mixes.  Most recently, Lafarge made a significant investment this year in the Mitchell Island Plant installing the most up to date technology for high RAP mixes. Asphalt manufacturing is a mixture of asphalt binder or bitumen combined with aggregates and sand.  Reuse of recycled materials in asphalt product will reduce the amount of bitumen and virgin aggregates, making it a more sustainable product for all municipalities. 

Virgin asphalt mixes use more aggregate and asphalt cement than a recycled asphalt mixture because the recycled products themselves are made up of bitumen, aggregates and sand. The use of recycled materials in asphalt production lowers the GHG emissions from upstream suppliers of aggregates and bitumen as less material is required for manufacturing for the asphalt production.  There is also a decrease in transportation related GHGs due to the reduced volume of virgin material to transport over time.  Transportation of recycled materials directly to stockpiles at urban depots are traditionally a shorter distance than virgin material to plant sites, resulting in a net decrease in GHGs.  

Building on a history of cooperation with Richmond, Lafarge participated in the Carbon Market Pilot Program in 2017, quantifying the GHG reduction by the Mitchell Island Asphalt Plant in 2016 through the use of RAP in the asphalt manufacturing process.  The City of Richmond made a carbon credit investment in the Lafarge Mitchell Island Asphalt Plant, transferring 2400 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent credits derived from the site’s asphalt recycling operations to the City to offset its own corporate GHG emissions for future years.  Lafarge was very proud to partner with the City of Richmond to help further the city’s corporate and community sustainability goals.  The Lafarge High RAP mix products would essentially double that GHG reduction to an estimated 5,000 tonnes. 

Lafarge is currently in the process of obtaining an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for the products manufactured at asphalt plants.  The EPD program was developed in conformance with ISO14025 and establishes principles and procedures for developing an environmental declaration program that transparently describes the potential environmental impacts of the asphalts produced during stages of manufacturing.  Each site will have a list of EPDs associated with all asphalt products, with verifiable and comparable information about the environmental performance of each product produced.  The EPDs will allow decision makers to make informed comparisons among asphalt mixtures and ingredients, with the goal of improving the environmental impact of asphalt products.