Egypt - Refuse-Derived Fuel feed our cement kilns

Since 2012, our El Sokhna cement plant in Egypt - one of the largest in the world - has joined forces with the Zabbaleen, an informal network of household waste collectors in Cairo, to develop the use of Refuse-Derived Fuels. The partnership has reduced the use of fossil fuels while creating local jobs and contributing to waste disposal.



  • Guarantee the plant a reliable supply of high-quality alternative fuel
  • Increase the share of alternative fuel in the plant's energy mix
  • Contribute to local job creation



Facing issues to access a reliable natural gas supply, our El Sokhna cement plant decided to develop the use of alternative fuels, particularly those processed from municipal waste. Once recyclable materials such as plastic, cardboard and metal have been removed, this waste can be used as an alternative to conventional fuels in the cement manufacturing process.


The city of Cairo produces around 15,000 tons of municipal waste each day, so there is no shortage of resources for our El Sokhna plant, which uses 15-20 tons per day.


In order to ensure the quality and regularity of supply, Lafarge involved the Zabbaleen, the local informal network responsible for sorting and reselling Cairo's recyclable waste for the past 80 years. A team of Zabbaleen people was hired and trained to collect, treat and recycle waste for Lafarge Egypt. This efficient manual sorting process ensures a high quality of fuels as well as low moisture and pollutant content.



  • The project has generated more than 140 jobs within the Zabbaleen community.
  • Refuse-Derived Fuels represented 13.3% of the plant’s energy mix in 2014, reducing considerably its consumption of fossil fuels.
  • Our local teams also helped the Zabbaleen create a dedicated waste treatment facility applying all safety standards, reducing waste randomly dumped or burnt in open sites (source of land and air pollution).