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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways


Updated: Dec 22, 2022

Leading specialist road marking and highway safety organisation, WJ Group has been awarded an International Green Apple Award for its commitments to carbon reduction in highways projects.

From over 500 entrants in a competitive field, the Green Apple Environment Award was bestowed on WJ. The accolade was presented by The Green Organisation – an international, independent, non-profit, non-political environment group founded in 1994 to recognise, reward and promote environmental best practice around the world.

WJ’s winning entry, titled ‘Reducing Carbon through Life Cycle Assessment Models,’ explained the company’s Cradle to Gate Life Cycle Assessment Model. It was developed to understand the true carbon footprint of their road marking products as part of the company’s commitment to reducing embedded carbon and moving towards net zero highway maintenance projects.

Wayne Johnston, CEO and Founder at WJ Group, commented:“We are deeply passionate about addressing our impact on the planet and gaining international recognition for our commitment to sustainable practice means so much. It was a significant undertaking by our product and sustainability teams, and to be rewarded with this fills me with so much pride. We look forward to continuing this process in line with our carbon reduction objectives.”

Based on raw materials used, transport emissions and energy use in production, the Cradle to Gate Life Cycle Assessment Model provides efficient and reliable carbon foot printing for all thermoplastic products. The carbon footprint calculator has been independently verified to PAS 2050:2011 and ISO14067 (2018), meeting the specifications and standards requirements for quantifying and reporting.

“By learning the true carbon footprint of each of the raw materials in our products, we can look at reformulations to make our processes greener,” said Wayne. “Thermoplastic material has been a particular focus for us as we manufacture approximately 10,000 tonnes per year at our two production facilities. The ultimate goal is to deliver a net zero thermoplastic road marking product.”

The model demonstrated to WJ that a switch from a hydrocarbon resin binder to a biogenic alternative: rosin ester, reduced the average embedded carbon in their materials by 81%. When calculated against the amount of material produced, this results in an approximate annual saving of 22,000tCO2e, which is equivalent to more than double WJ’s total annual operational footprint.

Switching to a bio-based resin also helps to improve natural habitats and biodiversity. This is because hydrocarbon resin is a fossil fuel which requires the degradation of the environment to procure, whereas bio-based resin is derived as a waste product from the paper industry or from pine trees.

“The Cradle to Gate Life Cycle Assessment has already helped us to deliver numerous benefits to our clients across the industry, by reducing the amount of embedded carbon and providing low carbon highway projects,” explains Wayne. “For example, working with Kier and Birmingham Highways across the Midlands, we generated a saving of 515.5tCO2e or 71% over nine months, when accounting for our operational carbon footprint.”

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