The ongoing efforts of our waste goal teams are laying the groundwork toward our 2030 Corporate Responsibility Commitment (CRC) goal. We initiated programs to strengthen our waste characterization and measurement practices at our manufacturing sites to support ongoing waste management activities. In addition to taking practical, cost-effective actions to reduce waste as we grow our operations, we will also consider making capital investments when needed to improve our manufacturing processes and reduce waste generated at our sites.
Our 2020 Waste Highlights
- Completed the conversion of our last coal-fired boiler to natural gas, thus eliminating coal ash landfill waste. With further capital investments coming, we will lower production waste too.
- Launched the company-wide Power of Small campaign to encourage employees to take small steps to reduce waste.
Consistent Effort to Help Us Reach Our Long-Term Goal
Despite our efforts, landfill volume increased in 2020 versus our 2018 baseline, mainly due to the shutting down of a co-product facility, the addition of a stabilizing agent, and changes in the ore blend at one of our top landfill sites, which resulted in an overall higher landfill volume for the company. Landfill volume intensity is calculated on a per-unit sales product basis.
But we’re not letting up on reaching our waste goal, despite the challenges of 2020. This year saw 46% of our products shipped to our customers in reusable or recyclable packaging. Nevertheless, we recognize that our landfill volume intensity appears to have increased when compared to 2019, but much of this increase was due to changes in raw materials and lost manufacturing efficiencies due to lower production volumes at our TiO2 production facilities. As we begin to implement landfill waste reduction programs and production volumes return to normal rates, we expect the intensity to decrease.
And that’s not the whole story. We also established a Land Use and Biodiversity Team to evaluate our current approaches to land use and find ways to further support biodiversity. We’re working with partners to identify opportunities at or near our sites where we can enhance or restore local habitat quality to offset land use impacts caused by our manufacturing operations.