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Cement Production is the 4th global fossil carbon emission activity and it´s time to reduce and recycle debris for healthy environment




RE4CC (Recycled Debris for Adaptation to Climate Change), a model, developed by marine biologist and environmentalist Victor Blanco, offers a reception Centre and service management of specific waste (specially debris) produced by the construction of infrastructure (debris), natural disasters and war zones through its recycling as raw material for the development of pre-fabricated concrete modules (bricks and other artifacts) that can be reused in construction or re-construction of affected areas (by climate, other natural disasters and conflict zones) and other uses (like artificial reefs, contention walls, flood control, road bricks, innovative coastal protection products for adaptation to CC, etc.), as well as issuing of recycling certificates and the option to participate in Certificates Emissions Reduction (CER´s) and the carbon credits generated by the sequestration (sink) of carbon dioxide in planted corals at the artificial reef.

This model promotes the prompt recovery of affected areas after climate, natural or human generated events, reduces climate risk of vulnerable zones; increases landfill lifetime; improves green corporate image by supporting reduction, recycling and reuse of wastes and the enhancement of marine habitats, indirectly encouraging the conservation of biodiversity and food security.

The key factors for the success of the proposal of RE4CC include the ability to promote at international scenarios the development and support of debris waste management policies, execute strategies and policies of corporate responsibility in the field of environment, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, availability of new disruptive coastal climate change adaptation strategies, the indirect participation in the conservation of biodiversity and marine ecosystems, and the participation on the carbon credits market in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Category of the action

Reducing emissions from waste management

What actions do you propose?

RE4CC (Recycled Debris for Adaptation to Climate Change) which is a franchiseable C2C business model seeks to offer customers both a reception centre and management service of debris waste produced by post-climate events and construction of infrastructure through its reuse and recycling as raw material for the development, in a first stage, of 15 climate adaptation and disaster recovery products, that can be reused in construction or re-construction of areas affected by climate, other natural disasters and conflict zones,reducing the response time to disasters, reducing the need of refugees camps, promoting the participation of affected population in the recovery process by the contract of labor to produce recycled products and reconstruction of facilities.

Our services: 

REACC proposal can be implemented under 2 main scenarios: A) in a regular basis as a local strategy to deal with debris collection, transport, transformation and sales to potential clients in a regular demanded market. B) in an emergency basis as quick response for a disaster event.

Debris producers clients who contract rubble waste management service will receive recycling certificates and option to participate in the climate change carbon credits generated by the reduction of carbon dioxide (CER`s - Certified Emissions Reduction or VER´s - Verified Emissions Reduced depending of CDM) due to the reduction of cement production demand and carbon sink in hard corals grown in artificial reefs (one of our products), improving the green corporate image by supporting reduction, recycling and reuse of waste,  and the enhancement of habitats, indirectly encouraging the conservation of biodiversity as well as food security.

A State policy, as we see it, should focus mainly on this issue, and as a starting point for the implementation of a comprehensive national system of solid waste reduction, direct work with the municipalities and private sector aimed at the implementation of primary programs covering on the subject of the proposal the following aspects:

• Establishment of waste (rubble) reception and classification Centre from the construction sector, for its recovery, reuse and recycle of concrete and cement structures and associated materials (metals, wood, plastics, etc.). In the case of disaster emergency response, the Centre must be established On Site, to cut transport costs.

• Establish marketing mechanisms to make better prices for recovered materials, including tax incentives.

REACC proposal promotes the reduction of cement consumption, resulting in GHG reduction. For each ton of cement not consumed to develop the products there will be reduced 0.9 Ton of CO2 emissions, in its production only; this means without adding the emissions due to transport from the mine to the production factory and from the factory to the final use site. On the other hand, REACC also promotes the reuse of debris for different needs in construction sector (as quarry waste) and its recycle as raw material for climate adaptation products. 

Our products:

The following are the first stage line of products developed for REACC proposal mainly to deal with adaptation programs and strategies ( However, the amount of different products that can be developed by this proposal has a huge potential, and can be adapted to each affected site, and affected population needs.

1. Quarry waste (gross debris)
2. Big blocks (>3Ton)
3. Solid cobbles
4. Hollow Blocks 
5. Prefabricated walls
6. Prefabricated floor panels 
7. Flood control modules
8. Drainage structures
9. Contention walls modules
10. Artificial reef modules
11. Coastal protection modules
12. Road curbs
13. Parking bumpers
14. Poles 
15. Jersey barriers

Even though the debris recollection and transport and the construction of most of the listed products seem to be already in the market, none of the organizations/companies working in this issue have the same approach of REACC business model.

The target customers are divided into two groups: those who use de Debris Services Centre and those who use developed products. Considering the “services” offered, the proposal is developed to meet mainly the Municipalities, construction sector and related activities, especially large enterprises or SMEs worldwide, which seek to implement climate adaptation strategies and reduce costs of waste management, improve its environmental corporate image, engage in new areas of corporate social responsibility and explore new areas of business with long term financial sustainability. Initially 5 market segments were identified on the basis of these characteristics:

1. Municipalities and other National State bodies.

2. Large construction companies.

3. SMEs.

4. Companies related to construction such as pre-mixed cement, pottered and hardware stores, etc.

5. Small companies, groups or individuals running construction work independently.

In the other hand, the “product’s” market segments of the proposal (reusable material and recycled artifacts) identified are:

1. National (Federal) Government and Municipalities.

2. NGO’s and International Organization related to disaster reduction and management.

3. Construction sector.

4. Oil and Gas sector.

5. Tourism sector.

6. Individuals (vulnerable communities).

Adaptation to climate change needs a wide variety of products that could efficiently address the impacts of events at vulnerable areas. These events have different kind of effects depending if the event impacts in the coast or inland, in flat plains or highlands, in urban or rural zones, etc. The main facilities affected by natural or human events (included climates and wars) are houses, roads, bridges, riverine and marine shorelines, drainage, slopes, among others, so REACC focuses its resilience products in this issues. For the conception of products line there were considered as events: storms, hurricanes, wave surges, tsunamis, tornados, heavy rains, floods, earthquakes, war zones, and other disasters’ zones. Every product considered for the proposal has already being developed and tested and is not regulated under any license and/or patent regulations; however, there is not dismisses the idea to develop, patent and test new products in this products o future lines.

However, as mentioned before, during rubble management, other materials, as belaying pins, iron and other metals, PVC pipes and woody debris will be separated and classified to its reuse in the recycled products and would maybe meet some basic standards. It is very important to clarify that all products will be constructed for LOW WEIGHT LOADS USES ONLY. This is due to the need to reduce ecological footprint and reduce the need to use new material on their construction. Standards will be met upon client’s request.

Paradigms are a very difficult barrier to settle because it requires changes in the common perception about an issue. REACC proposal promotes a gradual change in the way we see waste as an opportunity to effectively address problems associated with climate change, and how through the implementation of this business model there can be reduced social vulnerability, reduce GHG emissions, create jobs, encourage investment and economy growth.

The business idea can be replicated globally with a very high impact on climate risk reduction, accomplished through mitigation and adaptation, with a beneficial environmental, social, economic and even political impact. The business model can be re-engineered and applied to other waste materials for other uses, applications and new business opportunities. This is due to its flexibility to adapt to the local requirements where the initiative is implemented. 

Financially, the idea represents a cheaper and faster way to work against climate risk, promoting immediate actions that can be taken by least developed countries, developing countries and developed countries, so they can do more with less money or investment to reduce risk in vulnerable communities and to improve response actions after different events that affects humanity. Business models are not always about money and businesses because it can transcends any barrier when the survival of the human race is threatened, and society is more aware about this and they demand politician to take actions to adopt better responses to global problems, specially climate change. 

Also the idea brings a very innovative and disruptive perspective that businesses can be done leveraging a “waste” as raw material to make products to solve other problems and needs and generate a cash flow in local, regional, national and international economy levels. The business idea is not only about our products but the ways businesses are generated, about the services and the processes behind the innovate actions taken towards the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. 

In the other hand, the sustainability model spread all around the world has only given good results at local levels with very high investments from Governments, but new ways involving the private sector, NGOs and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) will bring real sustainability closer to theoretical sustainability. The world is demanding changes in waste management paradigms and REACC bring a renovated way for different stakeholder to deal and transform threats into opportunities and weaknesses into strengths.

The deepest desire of the team is that multilateral organizations, like those of United Nations (UNEP, UNDP, UNESCO, ACNUR, among others), take this initiative to global forums and promote countries to adopt these strategies in their national policies and/or international treaties.

The product/service initiative starts with the implementation of the marketing plan; then as follow:

o Selection and adaptation of the plant site. There will be selected and leased or will be awarded in concession a lot of ground. The distribution of spaces includes a courtyard of concrete waste reception, classification yard, patio of adaptation and preparation of modules and RE4CC products patio. This aspect could be co-financed by a municipality or any other State organ or major company.

o Authorizations: RE4CC Master Plan must request authorization by the national environmental and other authorities in accordance with the legislation in force. However, considering the activities are related to disasters recovery Authorities will accelerate any needed permit.

o Buy or Rent essential equipment to start operations or Join ventures with local companies related to pre-fabricated concrete products: are divided in transport (truck, forklift, minishovel), heavy equipment (cement crusher, hydraulic breakers, mixers, etc.), molds, welding equipment, and office and administrative support. 

o Staff for selection, collection and transformation of debris waste in construction products will be recruited, for which routes or collection circuits shall be established. Is very important to insist that local labor must be contracted, specially in post-events recovery, considering they have local expertise and skills related to construction of facilities, also promoting a cash flow among disasters affected population. 

o Procurement of goods and services will be made to dealers close to the site's location. 

o The staff will be trained in industrial safety, RE4CC modules preparation tasks, as well as masonry, autonomous diving and other activities, when it warrants.

o On a daily basis will be the presence of the Coordinator in the field to control the management, classification and quality control of RE4CC modules. Sales and marketing.

o There will be a strategic association with a stock broker specialist in carbon credits, who will sell bonds produced by the business model in reduction of carbon emissions at the international market at commercial standards (Gold Standard or higher).

o Certificates of recycling will be issued to clients that demonstrate a better environmental policy management and classification for the recycling of concrete waste.

Who will take these actions?

Consultoría Ambiental, C.A. (CONAMCA), a Venezuelan based company,  will be the General Coordinator. Will have the responsibility for planning the actions of the idea, annual cycles and follow up and adopt the administrative and technical matters. We are trying to involve some new partners in the Caribbean region, especially an NGO from Barbados.

Different stakeholders are hope to be part in different implementation process moments. Public sector, represented by local, regional and national level institutions are part both of potential clients and the authorization process. They have a leading role due to their responsibility in waste management, climate change adaptation strategies implementation, and negotiation related to climate change mitigation.

Private sector, represented by different companies, big or SMEs from different sector (Construction, Oil and Gas, Tourism, etc.) also have a leading role in the business implementation considering they are potential clients and they´re willing to access to new and cheaper ways to cover their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).The business model offers the possibility to reduce operating costs and generate revenue in the process of carbon bonds transaction.

NGO´s are also a very important stakeholder. They will be involved in the business model education at community level and spread into communities the advantages of its implementation, to educate and create awareness on how changes in waste management can help then prevent disasters and reduce climate risk.

But the most important stakeholders are communities and Community Based Organizations (CBO´s) who will be beneficiary of the installation of adaptation modules. The REACC business strategy has the goal to deal with climate change at their level reducing the risk of human and property losses.

Third parties, specially related to Carbon Bonds Trade or brokers, and other special services like accounting, legal advice and advertising and marketing will be contracted.

Where will these actions be taken?

The team leader, Víctor Blanco, Venezuelan marine biologist working with CONAMCA, will develop first stage of concepts development in Venezuela. However, there has been contacted an NGO from Barbados, to work with them for this project implementation, population development and risk reduction. The NGO and CONAMCA are preparing an Caribbean Development Bank concept note proposal for a grant to establish an “Community-based Pilot Project” to knowledge transfers and capacity building of local population in special themes, like risk reduction and technology transfer to climate change coastal adaptation. They have a climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy related to coastal communities in Barbados, for their inhabitants affected by coastal climate related events. This pilot project will work as REACC model transfer to community and promote the implementation of proposed products in real situations so its efficiency can be measured.

The strategic association with a Caribbean-based NGO will work as a showcase project to test the proposed model. All organization involved will help to raise funds and/or to establish an agreement with local, regional, national Governments or international organizations to take a step forward to implement the initiative. 

What are other key benefits?

Public and private sector can benefit from REACC business model to prepare for climate events as climate resilience and risk reduction strategy and to act in post-climate events as a fast and cheap way to rebuilt locations affected for disasters. The main assets of REACC model are the very low prices of its products and services.

The key factors include the availability of new disruptive climate change adaptation and risk reduction strategies, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the ability to execute strategies and policies of environmental corporate social responsibility, the indirect participation in the conservation of natural ecosystems and biodiversity, and the participation on the carbon credits market in the context of the UNFCCC. Other benefits are:

• focuses not only on adaptation and risk reduction but also in climate mitigation as well.
• Improve the environmental or green image of clients.
• Is environmentally sustainable, socially accepted and business wise adoptable.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

GHG emissions will be reduce about 90% mainly through the reduction on cement production demand and consumption to make the climate adaptation products. Also,CO2 sequestration or sink at hard corals grown at artificial reefs and coastal protection structures. 

The amount of CO2 emitted by the cement industry is nearly 900 kg of CO2 for every 1000 Kg of cement produced. The business model proposal reuse/recycle near 18.720 Tons/year of debris into new products, reducing a 90% of CO2 emissions, estimated in 16.848 Tons of CO2.

Coral reefs are net sinks of Carbon (C), mainly in the form of accretion carbonate (CaCO3). It’s possible to accurately predict the percentage of carbon sequestration and the production of carbonate, given the adequate information on any reef environment in particular. Calcification rates suggest a net production (G) of G = 1 (CaCO3 Kg/m2/yr) for areas bordered by reefs, g = 1.9 for Planar or platform reefs, G = 3 to the Ribbon and lagoon reefs. 

What are the proposal’s costs?

The following resources, broken down in accordance with pre-investment, fixed assets, Working Capital and other costs of investment are estimated for the home based and a year of operation of the RE4CC model.

Financeable Items   Own Contributions   Financing   TOTAL (US$)
Pre-Investment                         13.000               8.000          21.000
Fixed Assets                             12.300           255.000        267.300
Working Capital                       131.600          275.600        407.200
Other Expenses                                 0          152.900        152.900
TOTAL INVESTMENT           156.900          691.500        848.400

It is important to note that for financing will be checked at least 2 sources or direct partners. First, considering that the treatment of the problem of waste collection and disposal of wastes of debris is competence of the municipalities, is planned to make a strategic approach with a municipality or other body of State which could provide the proper ground for deployment of the Debris Collection Center, representing almost 50% of the amount of the fixed assets, and the remaining necessary capital capture through Venture Capital, risk investment funds or other available funds.

A concept note is been prepared for a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) avaliable fund.

For emergency response situations some costs calculations must be made at the time, considering the Government/Community needs, and other requirements like: consultation fees, diagnosis and plan of action, subcontractors, equipment rent, labor, etc. We will work to create a Global REACC Network with different CBO, NGO, Government agencies, private sector, international agencies in order to establish the fastest ways to reach and manage proper funds for this situations.

Time line

We are at between the ideation and business planning and are developing the conceptual and detail engineering for products prototypes. Below is the programme for the implementation of RE4CC business model. There are goals to be achieved by different actions of the initiative, estimate start January 2016. Critical progress points are represented by the start of commercial operations, and business model scaling.  For authorizations, the delays may be subject to administrative dilation of Government bodies. Business first operation is estimated to take place in a coastal community, in Barbados. However, it is planned to spread the initiative in Caribbean islands affected by the Hurricane belt and international SIDS, and countries affected by wars and recurrent climate impacts.

The time line for the activities:

1. Legal Registration of Business Brand-Idea: 4 months

2. Authorizations: 6 months

3. Marketing and Co-Financing: 6 months

4. Projects Pilot test: 2 months

5. Site selection: 1 month

6. Personnel Selection and Contract: 1 month

7. Machinery and Equipment Acquisition: 2 months

8. Commercial Operations: From 9th month


Other activities in the middle term include:

1. Creation and promotion of REACC Global Network

2. RACC Products Detailed Design and test

3. International Agreement with organizations to spread the model.

4. Fundraising strategy.

5. Attempt UN Meetings to promote REACC Strategy go global in national policies

Is difficult to plan at this stage what will happen in the medium or long term. However, as mentioned before, we hope to take this initiative to international environmental, social, educational, and disasters forums to promote global policies related to it.

Related proposals


Inter American Development Bank (IDB). Preliminar Report: Integral Construction Debris Management. Washington, D. C., BID, 1999.

Mahasenan, Natesan; Steve Smith, Kenneth Humphreys, Y. Kaya (2003). "The Cement Industry and Global Climate Change: Current and Potential Future Cement Industry CO2 Emissions". Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies – 6th International Conference. Oxford: Pergamon. pp. 995–1000. ISBN 9780080442761.

Nellemann, C., Corcoran, E., Duarte, C. M., Valdés, L., De Young, C., Fonseca, L., Grimsditch, G. (Eds). 2009. Blue Carbon. A Rapid Response Assessment. United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal,

Nicole Lazarus, BioRegional Development Group (2003). Beddington Zero (Fossil) Energy Development, Toolkit for Carbon Neutral Developments – Part II.

Ronald R. Lukens and Carrie Selberg. 2004. Guidelines for Marine Artificial Reef Materials. Second Edition. Artificial Reef Subcommittees of the Atlantic and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commissions. Publication of The Gulf and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commissions. Number 121.