Systematic waste management minimizes material consumption and disposal volumes. Safe disposal channels with separation according to the type of waste and economically expedient recycling processes serve this purpose. Production fluctuations and building refurbishment/land remediation work also influence waste volumes and recycling paths.
The increase in hazardous waste generated, especially at the German sites in Dormagen, Frankfurt and Leverkusen, is essentially due to an increase in the production volume.
The volume of waste disposed of fell by 1.9%. Less waste was disposed of than in the previous year at the HealthCare sites in Bergkamen and Kiel, both in Germany, as a result of the completion of building work. At the CropScience site in Institute, United States, the volume of waste disposed of again fell significantly in 2014 owing to progressive dismantling.
In addition to satisfying economic and environmental criteria, the recycling and treatment of our materials also has to comply with legal requirements. This results in restrictions, in particular in the areas of pharmaceuticals and crop protection. Throughout the Group, we are developing opportunities for recycling within the framework of legal regulations.
In 2014 the volume of waste recycled was 260,519 metric tons. The proportion of recycled waste that made up the total volume of waste disposed of thus rose by two percentage points to 29% compared with the previous year. This resulted from the recycling of slag granules as a building material at the Krefeld-Uerdingen site in Germany. Examples of recycling measures provide proof of Bayer’s commitment to recycling.
At the Bergkamen site in Germany, HealthCare binds iodine released during the incineration of waste from X-ray contrast medium production and processes it into an iodide solution that can be marketed. This process enabled us to recover and recycle around 281 metric tons of iodine in 2014.
The Consumer Care site in Myerstown, United States, is continually working on achieving resource-efficient production. In 2014, for example, 73.5% of production waste (more than 2,500 metric tons) was fed into the recycling process.
CropScience supports the drawing up of guidelines on the return of crop protection product packaging in collaboration with national and international industrial associations. The subgroup is also globally committed to establishing efficient take-back systems with the corresponding reclamation organizations. The international industrial organization for the crop protection industry (Crop Life International) has established 35 take-back systems worldwide for empty crop protection product packaging. In Germany, as part of the pamira system for the safe and environmentally friendly disposal of crop protection and liquid fertilizer packaging, approximately 3,000 metric tons of packaging were accepted in 2014 for controlled, environmentally responsible, primarily mechanical recycling.
MaterialScience’s sustainability strategy also covers the end-of-life product phase. This is implemented in product and plant recycling, production, and targeted involvement in initiatives.
For example, the subgroup supports the recycling of its plastic products and articles made from them. In its own production operations, too, MaterialScience uses material recycled from plastic waste. These kinds of high-quality secondary raw materials are used to manufacture certain grades of engineering thermoplastics, such as a flame-retardant plastic compound for television set housings that is produced using 30% recyclate from old pet water bottles.
In 2014 the Global Sideline Business unit at MaterialScience continued to sell plants and tools that are no longer in use on the open market, thus feeding them back into circulation. Approximately 135 tangible assets were sold to third parties worldwide in 2014. Furthermore, around 2,600 metric tons of scrap metal were returned to the material cycle from plants in Germany alone. Metal scrap was also recycled at other MaterialScience sites.
The subgroup’s commitment to recycling also extends to intensive involvement in the committees of associations such as PlasticsEurope and along the entire value added chain as a shareholder of bkv GmbH, German industry’s competence platform for recycling plastic.
MaterialScience also continues to support PlasticsEurope’s “Zero Pellet Loss” initiative, with the goal of developing measures to prevent the loss of plastic pellets on the way from production to the finished article. After the successful launch of two pilot projects in German production areas, the initiative was rolled out globally and transferred to the logistics processes.
The process developed by Currenta for the thermal treatment of composite materials is successfully being used for the efficient recycling of lithium-ion batteries. Almost 1,500 metric tons of batteries were treated in the rotary kiln in 2014. All combustible ingredients are destroyed and the heat released is harnessed to generate steam. This leaves the precious metals, which are then sent for recycling.
Using a new process for recycling polymer residues from plastics production at the Chempark Krefeld-Uerdingen site, Currenta is reducing waste volumes in one plant by 30% and thus also reducing the volume of starting materials, since the recycled substances can be reused in production. Thanks to other, conventional recycling measures, Currenta was able to return around 53,000 metric tons of construction materials, fgd gypsum and slag, 27,800 metric tons of metals and 14,200 metric tons of chemicals such as sulfuric acid or solvents to the material cycle in 2014.