A team at the Johnson Matthey site at Pilar near Buenos Aires are transforming the plant’s waste practices, spreading the message and creating spin off benefits in the community

Transforming Waste in Argentina

The site is part way through a programme of continuous improvement to reduce waste. After an initial hit of reducing waste to landfill by 17%, the team set about progressing their task on both a behavioural and practical level.
Changing attitudes is an important part of achieving sustainability and the Pilar team were pleasantly surprised by the immediate response to the communication plan and how swiftly cultural change took root. On the practical level, waste bags and containers were colour coded to denote the type of waste and ensure segregation at source.

In 2011/12, around 3,000kg of paper and cardboard were sent for recycling along with around 160kg of PET plastic bottles, 460kg packaging cartons and over 10kg of cans – this equates to around 10% of the total waste for the year. Arrangements are also in place for the separate collection and recycling of electrical equipment and batteries.

Recycling is an economic activity in Argentina and the waste for recycling was donated to a local foster home which sold it on to raise vital funds. The foster home, El Jagüel de Maria, which cares for children who have suffered abuse or malnutrition at home, has used the proceeds for essential expenses such as gas and electricity and even food for the children.

The Johnson Matthey site at Pilar is one of more than 190 companies on an industrial park. Its neighbours have shown an interest in following these new waste practices and a group of companies have joined forces and use the same contractor for recycling collections. Johnson Matthey's Sustainability 2017 Vision and implementation have been accepted as best practice in this local community. The site plans to help the recycling company to understand how best to recycle the materials and at the same time generate local employment. Johnson Matthey has also provided safety training to over 500 participants at a local recycling centre.