Reclaimed Materials

RETO’s products contain ~70% reclaimed fly-ash and iron tailings instead of traditional cement and aggregates



Founded in 1999



The Path to Drawdown: Insulation

Construction and buildings account for 38% of the global CO2 emissions and 35% of total energy use. Heating and cooling the building uses much of this energy, but a sizable amount of it (25-60%) is wasted through air infiltration or heat escaping from warmer areas to cooler areas.

Better insulation of building envelopes can reduce escaping heat. Insulation is the use of high levels of improved materials in buildings that resist heat flow and regulate indoor temperatures. Ideally, insulation should cover all sides of a building, from the bottom floor, exterior walls, to the roof, and be continuous. Sealing gaps and cracks is also crucial for a more thermal resistant building envelope.

Insulation is one of the most inexpensive and most practical ways to make buildings more energy efficient, both in new construction and through retrofitting older buildings that are often not well insulated. This also means lower utility bills, keeping out moisture, improving air quality and avoiding GHG emissions associated with energy use.

Project Drawdown estimates that, in 2018, 30% of buildings worldwide were insulated. If existing residential and commercial buildings in temperate and tropical countries install insulation (with low-carbon materials) at a rate of 1.6 - 2% annually, between 17 - 19 gigatons of GHG emissions can be avoided by 2050.


Reto Eco-Solutions, Inc. (stock ticker: RETO) manufactures and distributes eco-friendly construction materials like aggregates, bricks, pavers and tiles. They make these products from mining waste and fly-ash, which are less carbon-intensive alternative materials. Not limited to these materials, they also provide a full range of eco-friendly project solutions and city projects for customers. Headquartered in Beijing, China, they serve customers across the globe.

RETO's Role in Drawdown

ReTo’s primary purpose in the years 2021-2025 is to help build “sponge cities” (pp. 34-35) in China. In the summer of 2020, more than 27 provinces in China were affected by flooding, and the drainage system in the cities in these provinces were overwhelmed by these extreme weather conditions. To remedy this, Chinese leaders are building sponge cities - urban environments where rain is captured, controlled and reused, rather than funneling the water away. A big part of this initiative is to improve the flood-resistant infrastructure, constructing ponds, filtration pools and wetlands, as well as to build permeable roads and public spaces that enable stormwater to soak into the ground.

To this end, ReTo is working on several sponge city projects by using their materials in constructing city infrastructure that are made from recycled industrial waste, primarily reclaimed fly-ash and iron mine tailings instead of clay.

Fly-ash is the lightweight and powdery residue from the combustion process in coal plants, which would typically be disposed of in landfills and ash ponds or released into the atmosphere. Iron mine tailings are materials left over after the process of separating the valuable fraction from the worthless fraction of an ore.

RETO: What We Like

We’ll update this section once RETO makes sustainability information available.

RETO: What We Want to See Improve

Disclose GHG Emissions

We like RETO’s business model of using reclaimed industrial waste products to make construction materials. But we want to be certain that this is more environmentally friendly than the traditional alternatives. For that, we need to see key sustainability metrics like energy used by source, the amount of GHG emitted, both directly and indirectly, and the amount of emissions avoided through their products. We urge RETO to publish an annual sustainability report that discloses these metrics.

Electrify Operations

RETO owns or leases several properties (p. 56) throughout China, and some of their production plants are relatively large. We want to see these offices and facilities powered by renewable electricity so as to significantly reduce RETO’s direct carbon emissions.

Plan for a Decline in Coal

RETO’s model is viable only as long as coal remains a central component in China’s energy mix. Right now, coal is alive and well in China. But if and when the expansion of coal plants tapers off and starts declining, RETO will need a plan to continue making their construction materials while remaining environmentally friendly. We encourage RETO’s executives to start planning now.

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