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Nov 25, 2020

A recycling plant in England has created the world’s first socially and environmentally responsible way to process asbestos.

Thermal Recycling in the West Midlands town of Wolverhampton can take asbestos, remove it from the cement it’s mixed in, and turn “chrysotile asbestos into a material that is no more harmful than the cement from which it was derived.”

Famed as an electrical insulator and building material, asbestos is now well-known for its health hazards, as breathing the long silicate fibers released into the air when the material is cut or broken can cause fatal lung diseases.


Not only does their process remove the properties that make asbestos what it is, but it does so without any pre-treatment of chemicals, as other denaturing processes might require. This lowers costs of the final product and prevents the additional step of needing to dispose of chemicals.

Chairman Graham Gould noted at the opening of their test plant that “we can’t continue putting asbestos in landfill sites for future generations to deal with,” highlighting the unfortunate reality of asbestos disposal up until his groundbreaking innovation.

Thermal Recycling was also awarded the Innovate UK Smart Grant, which they’ll use to identify the exact best use for the post-asbestos cement aggregate material leftover from their process.

Short of dumping the end-use product in landfills, Thermal Recycling is the only environmentally safe option, and the value of their process, in terms of earnings or reductions in lung disease risk from dealing with asbestos disposal in the future, could be priceless.