Emissions from our operations are generated from a number of sources including combustion processes, materials handling and chemical reactions and are typically licensed by local regulations. All sites monitor emissions to ensure compliance with these regulations and set their own absolute targets aimed at reducing significant emissions as part of their local environment, health and safety improvement plans.
In 2010/11, our total emissions of acid gases have decreased in absolute terms by 17 tonnes SO2 equivalent and were down 8% relative to sales excluding precious metals compared with the prior year.
Compared with last year, total NOx emissions were down 9% at 393 tonnes (and down 25% relative to sales excluding precious metals) as we continue to reduce NOx emissions from our Emission Control Technologies business’ manufacturing processes. Total SO2 emissions increased by 39% to 43.0 tonnes (up 15% relative to sales excluding precious metals) as a result of increased production at our Brimsdown, UK and Maastricht, The Netherlands facilities which are two major emitters of SO2 within the group.
The group’s emissions of VOCs increased slightly (up 3%) in 2010/11 compared with the prior year and were down 15% relative to sales excluding precious metals.
The total waste generated during the year increased by 26% across the group and by 4% relative to sales excluding precious metals. Waste to landfill increased from 5,071 tonnes in 2009/10 to 6,165 tonnes in 2010/11, with 58% of the increase from acquired and new facilities.
While we have achieved absolute reductions in the amount of hazardous waste sent to landfill this year, this has been overshadowed by a larger increase in the amount of non-hazardous non-chemical waste sent to landfill during 2010/11 as a result of waste stockpiling at our facilities in previous years.
In terms of other waste streams, 4,801 tonnes of waste were sent for incineration (up 48%), 17,993 tonnes were sent for recovery (up 30%) and 85,220 tonnes of waste (up 25%) were sent for treatment and disposal by third party waste service providers.
Johnson Matthey collates and quantifies the different types of packaging waste produced by its manufacturing processes as shown in the table below.
Johnson Matthey complies with international agreements, regulations and policies that govern the international shipment of waste. During 2010/11, 4,295 tonnes of waste (an increase of 28% compared with 2009/10) was moved between countries, predominately for the reclamation and reuse of metal from spent catalysts at our Brimsdown, UK refinery.
During the year, water consumption increased by 19% in absolute terms but decreased by 2% relative to sales excluding precious metals compared with the prior year. Of the total water used by the group, 90% was supplied by local municipal water authorities, 6% was drawn from boreholes and 4% was taken from local water courses. A total of 1,719,540 m3 of effluent was produced, an increase of 35% compared with last year, of which 90% was discharged to local authority sewers after treatment and in accordance with local discharge consent agreements and 10% was discharged to water courses after treatment and within quality limits set by local water authorities. The method of water treatment used at each site is appropriate to the effluent quality and volume, and the requirements of the receptor.
The chemical oxygen demand (COD) test is commonly used to indirectly measure the amount of organic compounds in water. Most applications of COD determine the amount of organic pollutants found in surface water (e.g. lakes and rivers), making COD a useful measure of water quality. In 2010/11 the group discharged organic chemicals equivalent to a COD of 251 tonnes into water courses, as regulated by local emission limits at each manufacturing facility. This is a 6% increase on the prior year.
Johnson Matthey has a robust and effective management system which requires all sites to report environmental incidents to the group's EHS department. During 2010/11 the group has not reported any significant spillages to the environment of raw materials, intermediates or products.