Helping Johnson Matthey reach one of our six sustainability targets – sending zero waste to landfill

Waste Recycled graph

One of Johnson Matthey's six sustainability targets is to send zero waste to landfill. In 2008, a cross functional team was formed within the Emission Control Technologies (ECT) business at Royston in the UK to reassess the waste contractual arrangements. It became clear that improvements were needed to increase the quantity of material recycled and so reduce waste to landfill.

A new waste contractor was appointed and committed to work with the site to achieve the 'zero waste to landfill' goal.

At the same time, the team conducted a survey into the different waste streams. Shop floor staff were involved and helped identify how waste should be segregated. With input from the new contractor, the site gained a better understanding of which types of recycled items could be disposed of together and which items had to be separated. Recycling is best achieved when it starts at the level of the individual and so general waste receptacles were removed from the shop floor – requiring staff to take their waste to waste collection points within the plant and put each item of waste in the right receptacle. Special recycling points were also set up for batteries and fluorescent tubes. In this way, sustainable 'recycling behaviour' was encouraged.

A clear line of progress has emerged. In 2009 a waste management team was formed and over time this team has evolved to help achieve the target of zero waste to landfill. As our production levels have increased over the years, we have expected to see an absolute increase in the quantity of waste disposed of to landfill, but it did not – a testament to the success of waste reduction efforts.

In 2010 a system of waste transfer points was adopted within the facility.This allowed for clear roles and responsibilities to be allocated at the different stages of disposal. In 2011, a second waste compactor for general waste was installed. This 35 yard container is now being emptied once every three months, as against the weekly general waste collections in 2008 –another powerful indicator of progress.

In 2011, the logistics team got involved and a member of staff took responsibility for the waste transfer points and the compactors, leading to greater ownership of these areas and further gains.

In 2008/09, the ECT Royston operations recycled just over 50% of its general non-hazardous waste. In 2011/12 that figure had risen to over 90%. The waste contractor, employees and teams must share credit for this achievement and efforts will continue in 2012/13 with more emphasis on improving hazardous waste recycling practices.