2019 Sustainability Report

arrow blueCommitted to using financial, natural and human resources wisely without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs

REDUCING OUR FOOTPRINT
Waste

Working towards a zero waste to landfill organization.

United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsGood health and well-beingClean water and sanitationResponsible consumption and production

Why Waste Matters

103-1
Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

103-2
Explain management approach components

103-3
Evaluate management approach

GRI 301: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3; GRI 306: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3

We reduce our operational waste, waste to landfill and packaging waste to efficiently drive our business. By working to reduce waste, we lower material use and transportation costs and provide the lighter weight and more cost-effective products that our customers value. Our waste reduction efforts lead to reduced emissions in our operations and throughout our supply chain and contribute to addressing global environmental waste issues. Through our waste efforts, we work to establish closed loop and zero waste processes that support a transition to a more circular economy.      

 

31

Facilities Achieving Zero Waste to Landfill

Our efforts to reduce waste are global, with each facility working towards our 2025 goal.

Governance

The regional leaders and the global leader of our Global Waste Team, comprised of 22 representatives from each business unit, meet monthly to discuss our waste reduction strategies. The Waste Team holds facility management accountable for managing and reducing waste. Waste reduction is integrated into the annual performance reviews of select facility management. Greif implements colleague engagement strategies to encourage production colleagues to focus on waste reduction. Greif’s Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) policies, procedures and training govern the labeling, handling, storage and transportation of hazardous waste.

In 2017, we established trackable waste stream data, identified most plant-level waste streams and set waste baselines for each facility globally. In 2018, we built on this critical step in managing waste by creating a task within our Compliance Management System (CMS) requiring all facilities to report waste data monthly–the first globally required sustainability task we have implemented in our CMS. In addition to improving the accuracy of our waste data, we are now able to more efficiently collect and take action on the information. In 2019 we continued to reinforce best practices for reporting waste data into CMS to improve the consistency and reliability of our data. Waste data is now subject to verification by our internal audit team, who began evaluating waste data as part of internal audits. Beginning in 2020, each facility will be required to submit documentation in support of their data when reporting into CMS and we will begin tracking and reporting waste data for the facilities that have been added to our network through the Caraustar acquisition.

In 2018, we introduced the Best Demonstrable Practice (BDP) program to expand our waste reduction efforts. Through the program we established and promoted a small number of scalable waste management activities in select facilities that could be expanded throughout Greif. These initiatives included recycling personal protective equipment, coffee grounds and single-use coffee pods and implementing absorbent laundering. Collectively, these three programs removed 47 tons of waste from landfill in 2018. In 2019, we established a detailed waste matrix to help us understand more detailed sources of waste in each of our facilities. In 2020, each of our facilities globally will complete the matrix, which will allow us to identify the actions most relevant to each facility and continue to expand the impact of the program. Our continued progress on the BDP program, and our ability to better understand our waste streams at a more detailed level, is in part a result of improved collaboration and transparency with our waste collection partners.

Each of our colleagues are integral to managing our waste. To reinforce their role and importance of managing waste, we introduced a colleague engagement program called Serious about Sustainability to educate colleagues about waste impacts in their local facilities and provide them an opportunity to share opportunities they see to help Greif reduce waste. Management at each facility is responsible for collecting and identifying the highest impact opportunities that come out of the sessions and continuing to work with their colleagues to implement them. We conducted the program in 33 facilities in North America in 2019 and will continue to introduce it to more in 2020.

In 2018, Greif entered into a partnership with Operation Clean Sweep (OCS), an organization dedicated to keeping plastics out of the environment, to expand our commitment to reducing plastic waste. Through the partnership we commit to conducting audits in our facilities to evaluate our plastic resin handling operations and implement good housekeeping and pellet, flake and powder containment practices. Through 2019, we have conducted OCS audits in our Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Houston and Mt. Sterling, Kentucky facilities. We report audit findings through our quality system to address root causes and implement corrective actions based on the results. Our partnership will continue in 2020 with an audit of our Lavonia, Georgia facility.  

In 2020 we will continue to share and implement best practices across facilities. We will train our legacy Caraustar facilities on reporting waste data through CMS in order to begin tracking and reporting on their progress against our 2025 goals. We will continue to quantify the costs associated with our waste streams and identify ways to better manage them, including introducing per unit waste cost KPIs. To engage colleagues outside of our manufacturing facilities, we will pilot an office waste program at our main corporate campus, further demonstrating our commitment to reducing waste across our entire organization.

Goals & Progress

In 2018, we created a goal to divert 90 percent of waste from landfills from all Greif production facilities globally by the end of fiscal year 2025.

Progress:

 FY2019*

Total facilities

facilities with 90%+ Diversion

facilIties with 99%+ Diversion

facilIties with zero waste to landfill

Total

145*

82

35

31

North America

55

26

4

3

Europe

62

45

28

27

Latin America

16

4

0

0

Asia Pacific

12

7

3

1

*Data accounts for production facilities only.

 

Globally, we diverted 85 percent of total waste from landfills in 2019. In 2020, we will evaluate waste data for facilities obtained as part of the Caraustar acquisition, reevaluate our goals in consideration of those facilities and begin including those facilities in our waste reporting.

Performance

301-3
Reclaimed products and their packaging materials

306-2
Waste by type and disposal method

GRI
301-3
306-2
Waste Stream

 

FY 2015 

FY 2016

FY 2017

FY 2018

FY 2019

Hazardous Waste  

 

 

 

 

Total Waste to Landfill

220

146

527

1,639

2,428

Waste to Landfill

220

146

527

1,292

1,161

Incinerated (no energy recovery)****

-

-

347

1,267

Total Non-Landfill*

413

411

7,109

14,105

20,725

Incinerated (with energy recovery)**

 -

-

1,202

3,372

4,073

Composted***

 -

-

-

0

0

Recycled†

10

39

2,011

7,604

14,084

Reused††

 -

 -

399

1,513

651

Reclaimed†††

25

 -

194

217

366

Miscellaneous (Non Landfill) ††††

378

372

3,303

1,399

1,551

Total Hazardous Waste

633

556

7,638

15,744

23,153

Non-Hazardous Waste

 

 

 

 

Total Waste to Landfill

41,174

45,199

57,403

54,594

33,837

Waste to Landfill

41,174

45,199

57,403

54,110

33,380

Incinerated (no energy recovery)****

 -

 -

 -

485

457

Total Non-Landfill*

40,827

51,904

161,796

257,219

184,357

Incinerated (with energy recovery)**

 -

 -

945

2,054

2,950

Composted***

 -

 -

15,277

35

15,784

Recycled†

9,764

9,129

111,861

231,997

141,217

Reused††

33

128

17,147

11,641

12,321

Reclaimed†††

14

5

13,187

9,439

9,847

Miscellaneous (Non Landfill)††††

31,016

42,642

3,379

2,052

2,239

Total Non-Hazardous Waste

82,001

97,103

219,199

311,813

218,194

Total Waste (Hazardous & Non-Hazardous)

82,634

97,660

226,835

327,557

241,347

Notes:
  1. In our 2015 Sustainability Report, we reported our waste stream for our RIPS North America business unit only. In 2016, we expanded our data collection to all of our North American business units. In 2017, we expanded our data collection to all global operations. Data does not include facilities obtained as part of the acquisition of Caraustar. Legacy Caraustar facilities will be incorporated into waste reporting in 2020.

*Non-Landfill: Includes chemical-physical, incineration with energy recovery, recycled, reused, reclaimed, composted and fuels blending treatment methods 
**Incinerated (with energy recovery): Treatment method involving the combustion of solid waste that results in energy capture.
***Composted: Treatment method involving the biological decomposition of solid or liquid operational waste.
**** Incinerated (no energy recovery): Treatment method involving the combustion of solid waste that does not result in energy capture.

†Recycled: Treatment method involving the separation, preparation and sale of recyclable materials to end-user manufacturers.
††Reused: Treatment method involving the use of a material for its original purpose multiple times.
†††Reclaimed: Treatment method involving the process of extracting and converting materials from recycled materials to be used again.
†††† Miscellaneous (Non Landfill): All other treatment methods not mentioned previously, including Deep Well Injection and On-Site Storage, which were reported separately in 2017.

EARTHMINDED LIFE CYCLE SERVICES - ESTIMATED DRUMS AND IBCS RECONDITIONED*

 

 

FY 2015

FY 2016 

FY 2017

Fy 2018
FY 2019

Recycled

780,500

1,045,093

904,883

849,498

831,576

Steel Drums

553,300

689,513

534,369

571,355

509,884

Poly Drums

196,300

277,672

212,272

161,447

243,186

IBCs

30,900

77,908

158,242

116,696

78,506

Reconditioned

4,076,700

3,808,242

3,218,885

3,258,848

3,533,358

Steel Drums

3,356,200

3,072,348

2,565,052

2,713,025

2,699,393

Poly Drums

374,100

375,307

321,188

244,497

194,011

IBCs

346,400

360,587

332,645

301,326

639,954

Total Collected

4,857,200

4,853,335 

4,136,828

4,105,936

4,348,706

Steel Drums

3,909,500

3,761,861

3,099,633

3,284,380

3,193,049

Poly Drums

570,400

652,979

535,460

405,944

437,197

IBCs

377,300

438,495

501,735

415,612

718,460

Virgin Materials Saved by Reconditioning and Reuse (Metric Tons)**

77,773

71,573

63,111

63,587

76,400

Steel

70,198

65,743

56,200

57,664

66,900

High-Density Polyethylene

5,742

5,830

5,150

4,243

5,900

Wood

1,833

 

1,761

1,680

3,600

Virgin Materials Saved by Recycling (Metric Tons)***

12,076 

17,402

18,755

16,644

16,145

Steel

9,657

13,288

13,463

12,697

10,918

High-Density Polyethylene

2,297

3,817

4,580

3,385

4,888

Wood

122

297

712

562

339

Notes:
  1. Virgin Materials Saved by Reconditioning and Reuse data has been restated to standardize units across regions
*Estimated Drums and Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) Recycled and Reconditioned (North America and Europe, Middle East and Africa)
**Estimates based on the quantity of reconditioned packaging and average packaging specifications (North America and Europe)
***Estimates based on the quantity of recycled packaging and average packaging specifications (North America and Europe)
rebu – estimated fibcs reconditioned (EMEA)*

 

FY 2015 

FY 2016

FY 2017

Fy 2018

FY 2019

 Total FIBCs Collected - -  -

316,324

275,732

Reconditioned

 -

 -

 -

224,418

179,912

Recycled

 -

 -

 -

91,906

95,820

Total Virgin Polyethylene Saved (Metric Tons)**

     

727.6

634.2
Virgin Polyethylene Saved by Reconditioning and Reuse (Metric Tons)**

 -

 -

 -

516.2

413.8

Virgin Polyethylene Saved by Recycling (Metric Tons)***

 -

 -

 -

211.4

220.4

 *Estimated Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers (FIBCs) Recycled and Reconditioned (Europe, Middle East and Africa)
**Estimates based on the quantity of reconditioned packaging and average packaging specifications (Europe)
***Estimates based on the quantity of recycled packaging and average packaging specifications (Europe)
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Turning Waste to Fuel

In 2019, Greif collaborated with one of our waste management partners to identify materials used in our operations that could enter their engineered fuels program, which aims to identify materials that have a high heat value such as plastics, oils and absorbents, that can be used as fuel in certain applications that require significant amounts of energy, such as cement kilns. Through this collaboration, polypropylene lids used on Greif’s fiber and plastic drums were identified as strong options to enter this program. Since these lids cannot be recycled, Greif’s Naperville, Illinois facility collected and palletized 3.3 tons of lids to enter into this program. Without this program, the lids would have been sent to landfill. This program is available to Greif North American facilities.

DEFINITION