Managing the waste we produce is another important feature of our environmental sustainability strategy.
Thursday, 3 June 2010
Alongside the work we do to reduce our carbon footprint and to advance understanding of the impact of pharmaceuticals in the environment, we continue to refine and enhance our processes for managing waste across all aspects of our business activity.
This often brings associated benefits for our business as we improve our production techniques and adopt more efficient processes.
What kind of waste do we generate?
Our waste is classed as ‘hazardous waste’ or ‘other waste’ according to national laws, which vary in their definitions. Roughly half our total waste is classed as hazardous.
The majority of our hazardous waste is generated by our manufacturing activities and consists of used solvents and wastewater that is too strong to dispose of safely through the drains and sewage treatment systems.
Other waste includes general waste from our facilities around the world, such as metal, plastic, cardboard and paper, and commercial waste from our offices and on-site catering facilities.
Where we can, we eliminate waste. Where this isn’t practical, we work to minimise the amount we generate and also use re-cycling, recovery and re-use opportunities to further reduce environmental impact.
This includes improving existing production processes as well as making sure that waste, alongside other environmental considerations, is included in the design of new processes.
Wherever possible, waste solvents and other materials, such as metal and cardboard, are recovered and reused or recycled. Where this isn’t possible, we try to send as much of the residual waste as possible for incineration with energy recovery.
We run campaigns within the company to promote awareness of the importance of waste reduction and how people can contribute individually to our overall targets. Everyone within the company is expected to play their part.
We have reduced our waste year on year in line with the five- year targets that take us to the end of 2010. Waste is an important feature of our new environmental sustainability targets which will drive our continued commitment.
Waste is one of the non-financial measures that the AstraZeneca Board uses to assess our performance as a responsible business and annual performance is included in our Annual Report.
As we continue to expand our business, managing any associated increase in waste has been, and will continue to be a priority. In 2009, the index (tonnes/$m sales) was 1.6 (compared to 2.47 in 2005).
Some of our manufacturing is done for us by third parties. We work closely with our suppliers to make sure that their approach to waste management is consistent with our own.
This includes integrating waste management, alongside other environmental considerations, into the supplier selection process and ongoing management of the relationship.
Consistent standards of waste management will continue to be a priority as we increase our outsourcing in line with our business strategy.
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