In any industry, effective waste management and minimization are priorities; carbon black is no exception. Waste is generated at all stages of our industrial process, from manufacturing to packaging, though the quantity involved is relatively small. As international regulations and stakeholder expectations become increasingly demanding, we must implement strategies to reduce, reuse and recycle the waste generated by our processes.
Over the last three years, we reported on our progress towards waste management, focusing on the reduction of our waste generation intensity. New and evolving regulations worldwide have forced chemical industries to adopt technologies on air emission control, which generate a significant amount of solid waste as a by-product.This is the case for the flue gas desulfurization processes that we are implementing at several of our facilities and where, as a consequence, an increasing amount of solid waste, particularly gypsum, is generated.
In this context, the KPI that we used to monitor waste generation intensity is no longer considered relevant. We have decided to reassess the situation with our engineering group and have begun work on a more pertinent KPI, which we will announce in FY2017.
We aim to generate less waste, or reuse and recycle materials for the same purpose or for a secondary use. Our sites comply with all applicable health, safety and environmental requirements to ensure that any materials are sent for disposal in the most environmentally sound manner. We also work with organizations such as Repasack® to better recycle our product packaging in Europe and provide our employees with waste reduction training in the workplace.
Each of our sites has developed a specific plan for identifying and managing the different types of waste generated by our activities, including metal, pallets, plastic materials, paper and cardboard. We also sent self-assessment questionnaires to the sites in FY2016 to help them review how their operations generate and manage waste. Carbon black that does not meet our high quality standards is reused as much as possible in the manufacturing process, rather than being discarded. We encourage all of our sites to adopt this approach.
We are innovating our waste management initiatives by sharing best practices across our sites. An example of a best practice shared is in Brazil where the superbulk bags, containing up to 1,000 kg, are reused six times before they are sent off-site to be recycled by a third party. Ultimately, we are responsible for the safe disposal of these materials, the wellbeing of our employees and the communities where we operate.
Some of the solid waste that we generate is disposed of annually, but other wastes collect over time, such as those generated by regular turnaround operations, including residual oil in our storage tanks or retention pond clean-ups. To reflect this cyclical waste generation, we determined a more representative metric and adjusted our KPI to better track and monitor our solid waste generation intensity over a three-year cycle.
Ultimately, we are responsible for the safe disposal of these materials, the wellbeing of our employees and the communities where we operate.
Making Gains from our Waste in Alexandria
Our facility in Alexandria, Egypt, generates a significant amount of solid waste, in the form of carbon sludge. Traditionally, it has been very difficult to dispose of, even as solid waste, and no companies or contractors could be found to help us dispose of it. Even after a disposal company was identified, we discovered that it was costly to collect, package and transport sludge for outside disposal. It also took a considerable amount of time to receive disposal approval from local authorities due to the facility’s location in a free trade zone.
As a result of these challenges, we decided to work with contractors to find and trial suitable applications for the sludge. Through this process, we discovered that the sludge, once mixed with bitumen, could be used as an insulation material for building surfaces or as a black paint for road curb stones. This solution worked well for us in several ways: we not only saved money that we would otherwise have invested in waste disposal, but we also offset costs by selling the waste to an external buyer. By working closely with our contractors, we were able to find a win-win solution that helped us dispose of solid waste while providing us with economic benefits.
Responsible Consumption and Production
Minimizing the waste that we generate.
solid waste recycled in FY2016