Waste Management

Ashland has extensive global programs for waste minimization, recycling and treatment or disposal of generated wastes. We manage our hazardous waste in accordance with governmental regulations and our internal policies and procedures. While Ashland does not currently collect data regarding its global, nonhazardous waste generation, this information will be included in future reports. Ashland experienced an increase in hazardous waste in 2016, due to a regulatory change that resulted in a product stream being classified as hazardous waste.  

Global Hazardous Waste (Metric Tons)
  FY 2016 FY 2015 FY 2014
North America 6,835 7,047 5,472
South America 951 276 293
EMEA 46,268 2,664 3,329
Asia Pacific 468 1,337 252
Total, All Regions 54,522 11,324 9,346

Waste Management and Reduction

When it comes to waste management, Ashland looks for innovative ways to manage an age-old problem. Ashland has for many years focused on a waste management hierarchy to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover waste streams. Our ultimate goal is to move up the hierarchy tree from reduction to zero waste. Although we still have quite a way to go to achieve this goal, our target is to reduce and manage our waste streams to minimize the impact on the environment. The table below highlights the ways we manage our wastes:

Waste Management Activity Description
Traditional recycling Our facilities have programs in place to collect and recycle a variety of waste streams including paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, aluminum, and scrap metals. Materials formerly destined to landfills now are collected and recycled into useful products.
Packaging recycling Our operating plants receive the majority of their raw materials by bulk, including rail tank car, truck tank wagon and by pipeline. Materials also come into our facilities by drum, tote, boxes, and other containers. To alleviate landfill disposal of packaging materials, drums and totes are sent to recyclers to be refurbished for reuse or, when they cannot be reused, sent to metal and plastic recycling facilities. Cardboard boxes are also collected and sent to recycling facilities.
Chemical recycling

Our Ashland Specialty Ingredients operations collect and recycle many of the chemicals used in the manufacture of our products. These include acids, acetone, ethanol, toluene, isopropyl alcohol, ammonia as well as many more chemicals. The recycling of these chemicals provides a cost benefit to our plants and eliminates the need to dispose of them as a hazardous waste after single use.

Waste-to-energy Converting waste-to-energy provides a useful alternative to land filling. Our Huntsville, Alabama, facility located on the Redstone Arsenal, sends all of its industrial solid wastes, with minor exceptions, to the on-site waste-to-energy facility. There, with other solid wastes streams collected from the Arsenal, the wastes are combusted and used to generate steam for the site. Similarly, wastes are collected at our Marl, Germany, facility which is located in the Chemie Park and sent to the on-site incinerator that produces steam for the industrial plants located within the Chemie Park.
Electronic waste Managing the electronic wastes generated at our facilities also receives special attention. Old computers, monitors, phones, copying equipment, lighting and other electronic wastes are collected and sent to Ashland-audited facilities, where they are disassembled for their valuable content and recycled.

Waste Minimization, Reuse and Recycling

In 2014, the Ashland Columbus Hilliard plant implemented a project to recover solvents from a manufacturing process that produces a cosmetic intermediate. Normally, these solvents would be disposed of as a hazardous waste through incineration. The project was quite successful, achieving a 95% recovery rate in its first year of operation. Approximately 685 metric tons of solvent were recovered and recycled, resulting in an estimated cost savings of $1.5 million dollars. An additional environmental benefit was also achieved. It eliminated the combustion of the waste stream by reducing CO2 emissions by 1,804 tons and NO2 emissions by 105 tons. As a result of the plant’s successful efforts, they were awarded the American Chemistry Council’s Waste Minimization, Reuse and Recycling Award.

Taking Waste to Product

In 2014, Ashland Performance Materials (APM) opened its second PET conversion facility in Benicarlo, Spain. This new facility represents an investment of $2 million. This investment will allow Ashland to develop better performing products for its customers, but also reinforces the importance of sustainability to Ashland. When fully operational, the facility will process up to 5,000 tons of recycled PET materials, which is equivalent to half a billion water bottles per year. The recycled materials will be used to manufacture a variety of products including kitchen counter tops, bath tubs or even a yacht. Annually, APM processes in excess of 14.2 million pounds of industrial-grade PET for the manufacture of composite materials.