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Volcanic ash and lime, a historically sustainable combination

Cenizas volcánicas y cal

Natural phenomena have accompanied human beings throughout their history and the same can be said of lime. Today, when the importance and necessity of fighting climate change is greater than ever, looking into the past in search of sustainable ways of using natural resources is an interesting source of reference.

Thus, the Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius (1st century BC), author of the oldest existing treatise on architecture and building materials refers to lime, sand, ash, to making use of waste… A magical combination thanks to which humanity was able to enjoy unrivalled architectural development, one example of which are the Roman constructions still standing today. Renaissance architecture went on to follow the steps of its Roman counterpart where artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo drew on the aspects discovered by the Romans.


Among the binding products used were two in which lime was key. On the one hand, the so-called “Opus Signinum”, a hydraulic mortar of lime, sand and pieces of tile with waterproofing characteristics mainly used for paving, and “Opus caementicium”, a Roman cement made from a mixture of volcanic sand (pozzolana) and lime with aggregates (pebbles, gravel, pieces of brick or roof tiles, etc.) which, when hardened with water, offered extraordinary resistance.  

Cenizas Volcánicas y Cal

Photo: Opus caementicium visible in a Roman tomb on the Via Appia.

These two products reveal an intelligent and sustainable use of the natural resources available in their surroundings (lime, volcanic ash) and how waste from discarded ceramic materials (roof tiles, bricks, etc.) was incorporated for its reuse.


Historical lessons which are highly topical when reformulating and redesigning the calcium products with which Calcinor, in an obvious commitment to sustainability and eco-design products, works today in the recycling of waste and by-products through more environmentally sustainable formulations.