Read about how our Clitheroe site in the north of England is reducing hazardous waste despatched to landfill

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One of Johnson Matthey's sustainability targets is to eliminate waste to landfill by 2017. On the Clitheroe site in the north of England, which makes catalysts, good progress had been made on reducing hazardous waste despatched to landfill, but the site was concerned that the level of non-hazardous waste sent to landfill would remain stagnant at around 200 tonnes.

What were the obstacles? Was an attitude of 'any bin will do' holding back efforts to reduce waste? Of the waste sent to landfill, around 67% was non-hazardous, so this was set as a priority area. In 2011 the site met up with a number of waste contractors to determine how it could move towards increased recycling and achieve a significant reduction in waste to landfill.

A new non-hazardous waste contractor was selected, Neales Waste Management. It is a local company which also aims to eliminate waste to landfill – in fact, both Neales and Johnson Matthey have incorporated waste reduction targets into their ISO 14001 systems.

The first step was to install new recycling bins, clearly labelled for guidance, around the site to encourage recycling. Additionally, three new balers were bought. These have been used to bale plastic and flexible intermediate bulk containers, or FIBCs, which can then be sold. The site now receives an income from its efforts in baling and recycling this waste stream.

How much waste can be recycled? The site looked at the classification of wastes and found more waste streams that could be recycled. A recycling route was also found for the refractory kiln bricks that are used to line furnaces used in some of Clitheroe's processes.

An ambitious target was set for 2011/12; only 100 tonnes of non-hazardous waste should be sent to landfill, just half of the 2008 figure. The new waste collection scheme has been implemented enthusiastically and the actual figure achieved came in below the target – at 78 tonnes. This is a 40% reduction on 2010/11 and led to cost savings of £7,500 for the site.

More is planned for the future. The site is aiming to achieve zero non-hazardous waste to landfill through further cooperation with Neales and diverting waste from landfill to a Neales 'energy from waste' plant. Neales has also started collecting hazardous non-process wastes such as fluorescent tubes, batteries, oily rags, paint tins, electrical waste and filters from site, and has found recycling and recovery routes for these waste materials, diverting them from landfill.

The drive to eliminate waste to landfill is being pursued across the whole site, led by the EHS Department and the Facilities team. Employees are involved in the continuing success of the scheme, and a 'waste watch' notice board has been created to communicate progress and encourage staff to make their suggestions on ways to reduce waste further.