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Can roads be sustainable?

By creating value and reusing the material by-products of the steelmaking process, new road surfacing products can be manufactured, which reduces the consumption of natural raw materials.

When we think of roads, sustainability is not a concept that instinctively comes to mind. And yet roads, as well as other transport-related infrastructure (e.g. bridges, railways, etc.), are a cornerstone of our world today. So the question of whether and how to make road construction more sustainable and environmentally friendly is absolutely necessary.

pavimentazione strade di montagna

How are roads built?

Roads are formed by several layers of a variety of materials, from the foundations to the surface we are accustomed to driving on. The layer commonly, though incorrectly, referred to as asphalt is a bituminous conglomerate consisting of bitumen and mineral materials. In high-performance road pavements, these minerals are, for example, basalt and porphyry.

The use of these minerals has historically been associated with significant environmental impacts due to emissions from extraction and processing, as well as the large-scale depletion of natural resources. In recent years, therefore, efforts have been made to develop artificial/industrial alternatives to natural minerals in order to achieve more sustainable road construction.
One solution has been identified in steel mill slag, which is a by-product of steel production.

Creating value from by-products and reducing waste: a circular economy example in steel production and building greener roads

Steel mills that use an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) in their manufacturing operations have always represented a textbook example of the circular economy. The integration of other additional circular strategies has the potential to reduce our dependence on natural raw materials by recycling and exploiting the potential of industrial by-products.

In the specific case of road paving, an analysis of the slag produced by EAF production sites has resulted in the development of a valid alternative to the use of natural resources: Granella®.

Granella® is a product developed as part of the Pittini Group’s Zero Waste initiative which fully implements the criteria of the circular economy. It offers two advantages in terms of environmental sustainability. Firstly, it valorises an industrial by-product, avoiding the impact that its disposal in landfills would normally cause. At the same time, it is an alternative to using natural raw materials for road paving.

Granella®: high-performance sustainable road pavements

Limiting the use of natural materials is simply not enough. It is equally important to develop solutions that guarantee high standards of comfort and safety. This is why Granella® stands out as one of the best solutions for road surfacing, delivering performance and reliability superior to any natural material.

Its use also reduces the environmental impact of road maintenance, providing high performance in terms of resistance, adaptability to climatic conditions and durability.

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