Managing waste

Waste is a significant issue for all manufacturing businesses. Part of the solution to reducing waste is increasing efficiencies of the raw materials and making them go as far as possible. In addition, our people are constantly finding new ways to increase the amount of waste we reuse or recycle.

Over the past five years, we have increased the proportion of waste that we recycle or recover from 73% in 2017 to 88% in 2021.

In alignment with SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, which asks for sustainable consumption and production patterns, we’re scrutinising how we handle waste. This includes waste discarded from our operations and waste created by the disposal of packaging materials. We’re adopting industry-leading approaches to handling waste, such as composting waste instead of incinerating it, and embracing the notion of a circular economy by repurposing our waste into raw materials for other industries (SDG 12: target 12.5).

Rethinking our processes

Where possible, our businesses implement circular economy principles to use more from less, reducing dependence on raw material extraction, and continuously seek ways to recycle or reuse all waste materials. For example, at the AB Enzymes plant in Finland, since 2017, waste from pressure filters in downstream processes has been reused as compost which improves soil quality by adding vital micro-nutrients.

Collaborating with other companies

At AB Enzymes, wheat flour flushes equipment between batches of enzyme production. It's a vital step in the safe creation of enzymes, yet the wheat flour serves no other purpose to operations. To create a more sustainable solution, the team at AB Enzymes began collaborating with bioethanol companies that use wheat flour as a raw material instead of disposing of it. This means dry waste generated by the site is used to produce vehicle fuel with any residues repurposed as fertiliser. This collaboration uses up to 200 tonnes of dry organic waste every year that previously went to landfill or was incinerated. Across our businesses, we are looking for other ways to realise the untapped sustainability benefits of reusing waste.