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Most industrial waste is recovered

  • In 2013, the Belgian chemical and life sciences industry accounted for 1,419 kilotonnes or 10% of all industrial waste.
  • Substantial efforts were made in the field of material and energy recovery. Of all waste generated by the sector in 2013, 70% was recovered either as materials or as energy. The positive trend towards optimal use of waste is clear; in 2001, the recovery rate was just 43%.
  • About 24% of the waste generated by the chemical and life sciences industries is hazardous.  68% of hazardous waste produced by the sector is recovered. The treatment of hazardous waste takes place mainly in Belgium (77%).
  • Waste production can be minimized by targeting prevention at the source. Unavoidable waste must go through optimal treatment to keep its environmental impact as low as possible. We distinguish hazardous from non-hazardous waste and we give priority to recycling (same application) and re-use (other application) ahead of useful application (energy recovery).

Sector initiatives

BASF proceeds consistently further on the road to sustainable waste and materials management

In 2014, BASF Antwerp started a project to increase the focus on sustainable waste and materials management. Today, BASF Antwerp can count itself among the forerunners when it comes to the efficient sorting, collection and processing of large chemical waste streams. And yet, BASF Antwerp judges that there is still room for improvement, especially in non-hazardous waste.

The consistent separation of waste at the source, already started in 2014. Based on a thorough inventory, each company or building received a waste island on which waste containers were assembled, and each waste fraction was accorded a colour. The system of collecting waste from the work area ceased, and a new approach was adopted whereby waste is grouped at a central sorting point. An important aspect of this approach is the involvement of each employee, which ensures that waste ends up in the correct waste container. Here too, a uniform colour code is used to help keep the system transparent and simple.

Due to this project, not only did the quantity of sorted PMD (plastic bottles, metal packaging and cardboard packaging for drinks) double in 2014, the quantity of residual waste decreased by around 12%. In 2015, BASF Antwerp is continuing to focus on sustainable waste and materials policy. The aim is to actively involve employees in finding ways to prevent or decrease the amount of waste. Working together to find ways to enhance the value of recyclable fractions, is another important area of focus for the future.

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