We apply the waste management hierarchy when dealing with the production wastes that we generate. Our most preferable option is to prevent or reduce the amount of waste that is produced in the first instance. Where this is not possible then we seek to handle the waste in manner that reduces the impact on the environment through recycling, recovery or reuse.

In 2020, we made the decision to increase transparency with regard to the waste metrics reported. In addition to hazardous waste, we have also reported total waste generated and non-hazardous waste generated. As a consequence, we have reset the baseline for reporting of waste metrics to 2017.

2020 Performance

Overall , compared to 2019, we saw a 5% increase in total waste intensity, a 28% increase in hazardous waste intensity and a 6% decrease in non-hazardous waste intensity. The increase in hazardous waste per tonne of product produced was due to three main contributory factors. The downturn in production as a result of the pandemic led to an increase in the overall intensity figure. Change in product mix at a number of our sites saw increases in hazardous waste due to the type of products being manufactured in the reporting year. These products had a much higher waste yield than products produced in previous years. Finally, the market for recycling of waste solvent materials weakened significantly in the US. Waste material that in previous years has been sent for reuse as a by-product, as an alternative to virgin raw solvent materials, instead had to be recycled as hazardous waste.

Total Waste

In addition to the reporting of total waste and non-hazardous waste metrics, we are also reporting, for the first time, the handling routes for our waste streams. In 2020, 70% of all waste generated was sent for recovery, recycling or reuse, 20% for treatment or incineration and 11% to landfill. Since 2019 there has been a 60% decrease in the amount of total waste sent to landfill and a 194% increase in the amount sent for recovery, recycling or reuse.

2020 Waste Reduction Activities

Our waste reduction activities in 2020 include:

  • Our European manufacturing sites were able send over 3,200 product and raw material IBCs (Intermediate Bulk Containers) for reconditioning and subsequent reuse in the market. These containers would have previously been sent for component recycling. This reconditioning route has saved 125 and 48 tonnes of virgin steel and plastic respectively and 331 tonnes of carbon emissions.
  • With the closure of our Octane Additives business in 2020, we switched our attention to the demolition and recycling of redundant buildings at our Ellesmere Port, UK site and how we could maximize the use and reuse of any waste materials generated. We are pleased to report successful recycling rates of over 98% on our redundant assets. In total, 1,745 metric tonnes of steel and 3 metric tonnes of lead were recovered and sent for recycling. In addition, over 5,000 metric tonnes of concrete was recovered, crushed and reused on site to infill new road structures. The site also improved their recycling rates for non-hazardous waste through the implementation of a new dedicated cardboard recycling facility and the reuse of pallets.
  • In addition to the waste savings reported earlier, the changes made to the washing stage of a new fuel additive product manufactured at our site in Herne, Germany also reduced the amount of wastewater generated by 27%. The site also installed a new bulk storage area for a key raw material, enabling it to switch from the use of containerized supply to bulk supply, saving over 1,800 steel drums per year.
  • Our site in Castiglione, Italy, has further reduced the sludge and acid waste produced by one of their main production plants by 5%. Likewise, our facility in Vernon, France was able to completely remove waste sludge generation in their iron soap process. These savings were achieved through the implementation of organizational and managerial improvements, increasing the awareness of operators and optimizing the product mix production processes.
  • Vernon, France and Oklahoma City, US manufacturing facilities both increased their reuse of a number of suitable waste streams by blending them into the production process of other compatible product batches. This reduces the amount of waste sent for offsite disposal and the use of virgin raw materials needed in the production process, demonstrating our efforts in contributing to a circular economy.