Bayer minimizes material consumption and disposal volumes through systematic waste management. 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.
In 2013 the total volume of waste generated fell by around 11%. The main reason for this was the completion of a major soil remediation project at CropScience’s Thane site in India. The site has now been sold. Another soil remediation project, at the HealthCare site in Orizaba, Mexico, was also completed, leading to a further drop in waste volumes.
In line with the general reduction in the volume of waste, the amount of waste disposed of fell by 10.4%. This had no significant effect in 2013 on the distribution of waste among the different disposal channels, however.
In addition to satisfying economic and environmental criteria, the recycling of our materials also has to comply with legal requirements. This results in restrictions, particularly in the areas of pharmaceuticals and crop protection. Throughout the Group, we are developing opportunities for recycling within the framework of legal regulations.
In the reporting period, the volume of waste recycled was just under 250,000 metric tons (27%) of the total volume of waste disposed of, which is two percentage points down on the previous year. Numerous 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 220 metric tons of iodine in 2013.
CropScience supports the drawing up of directives on the return of crop protection product packaging in collaboration with national industrial associations. The subgroup is also globally committed to establishing efficient take-back systems with the corresponding reclamation organizations. In 2013, 2,250 metric tons of rinsed primary packaging was collected and, to a great extent, recycled (about 85% of the total volume). The PAMIRA system for the safe and environmentally responsible disposal of crop protection and liquid fertilizer packaging was introduced on a voluntary basis in the 1990s by the crop protection industry and the commercial sector. The amount of packaging taken back in Germany has been steadily growing since 2010. In 2013, 2,666 metric tons of packaging were accepted and passed on for controlled, environmentally responsible recycling.
MaterialScience supports the recycling of its plastic products and items made from them, among other things by working extensively in associations and bodies such as PlasticsEurope’s sustainability platform. The subgroup is also a shareholder of BKV GmbH, German industry’s competence platform for recycling plastic. In its own production operations, too, MaterialScience uses material recycled from plastic waste. Such high-quality secondary raw materials are used to make certain engineering thermoplastics. Current products include a flame-retardant plastic compound comprising 30% old PET water bottles that is used to make TV housings.
In 2013 MaterialScience also became involved in PlasticEurope’s “Zero Pellet Loss” initiative, which aims to prevent plastic granules from being released at any stage in the life cycle of thermoplastic products. In particular, production and logistics processes are to be reviewed.
Currenta has developed a process for the thermal treatment of composite materials. This process destroys all organic, flammable substances, converts the heat released into usable steam and releases the usable precious metals with a recovery rate of up to 99%. Recycling industrial waste, materials from demolitions and chemical waste from the Chempark sites is also part of Currenta’s remit. This also involves the inspection of buildings for contamination, the environmentally sound disposal of rubble and the reuse of all recyclable materials. In 2013 Currenta’s recycling measures resulted in around 46,000 metric tons of construction materials, 40,000 metric tons of metal and 12,000 metric tons of chemicals such as sulfuric acid, solvents and iodine being returned to the material cycle.