Waste

Working towards a zero waste to landfill organization.

Why Waste Matters

GRI 301: 103-1 | 103-2 | 103-3 | 301-3; GRI 306: 103-1 | 103-2 | 103-3 | 306-1 | 306-2 | 306-3 | 306-4 | 306-5;
103-1
Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

103-2
Explain management approach components

103-3
Evaluate management approach

301-3
Reclaimed products and their packaging materials

306-1
Waste generation and significant waste-related impacts

306-2
Management of significant waste-related impacts

306-3
Waste generated

306-4
Waste diverted from disposal

306-5
Waste directed to disposal
Reducing our operational waste, waste to landfill and packaging waste is a fundamental business priority. Our waste strategy focuses on implementing closed loop and zero waste processes that support the transition to a more circular economy. This strategy provides environmental benefits, cost savings, risk mitigation and helps us achieve our health and safety goals. Our waste reduction efforts add value throughout our supply chain by reducing emissions and environmental impacts, conserving valuable resources through lower material use and benefiting the communities we serve. We also demonstrate value to our customers by providing lighter weight and more cost-effective products. Through our waste reduction efforts, we reduce emissions in our operations and contribute to addressing global environmental waste challenges.

Governance

50

Facilities Achieving Zero
Waste to Landfill

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

In 2021, Greif’s Leadership Council began overseeing five sustainability issues, including waste, in an effort to further accelerate our ESG strategy. We now report on waste each quarter to the Executive Leadership Team. We also added a waste KPI to Greif’s enterprise scorecard and monthly reports that are shared with managers and tracked via the Greif Business System (GBS) and Must Win Battle (MWB) scorecard. The Global Waste Team, comprised of Greif colleagues from each business unit and region, meets monthly to discuss our waste reduction strategies. The Waste Team holds facility management accountable for managing and reducing waste. Greif implements colleague engagement strategies to empower 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 2021, 54 plants held a virtual tour that included information sharing on sustainability, including waste. Members of Greif’s executive team and GIP’s leadership team attended the virtual tours to provide collaboration and support our continued waste management progress.

Greif’s Compliance Management System (CMS) allows us to collect data, monitor performance and measure progress accurately and efficiently. In 2020 and into 2021, we improved our ability to view and manage waste data in CMS by enabling monthly access to data. This allows each facility to gain insights into data more quickly and implement programs throughout the year. As part of our CMS, we require all facilities to report monthly waste data, submit invoices for verification in addition to roadmaps. Our waste data is subject to evaluation and verification by our internal audit team to ensure consistency and reliability.

For all Global Industrial Packaging (GIP) facilities, we maintain a detailed waste matrix to help us understand each facility’s waste streams, each waste stream’s disposal method (recycling, reuse, landfilling, etc.) and manage progress. The waste matrices serve as a collaboration tool allowing facilities to compare management of common waste streams. In 2021, our PPS business began the process of developing matrices, allowing for company-wide integration of our waste data and programs. As part of this process, we built a foundation of education and training throughout our PPS business, including trainings on data entry and waste stream identification. These efforts enabled a number of our facilities to reach or make significant progress towards our goal to divert 90 percent of waste from landfills at all facilities. We will complete our waste matrices for all PPS facilities in 2022.

Facilities that have yet to reach our 2025 waste diversion target are responsible for creating a quarterly, or semi-annual, roadmap to evaluate all waste streams going to landfill and develop a diversion strategy. Each facility includes at least the top three waste diversion projects and reports on associated cost reductions, waste to landfill reductions and the status of each project. Our waste diversion roadmaps provide great insight into our facilities and their waste management progress, and help facilities improve performance year over year. Our roadmaps play a critical role in our ability to reach our waste diversion goal, enabling each facility to understand its waste management needs and identify actions for improvement. Waste training for staff is another key component to continuous improvement in achieving our waste strategy and goals.

Greif has partnered with Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) 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 best practice housekeeping and pellet, flake and powder containment practices. Third party audits were conducted at our Hazleton, Pennsylvania, Houston, Texas and Mt. Sterling, Kentucky locations from 2017 to 2019, before being paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All facilities passed our continued internal audits and we will restart third-party audits in 2022.

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. In 2020, we began to include waste data from our legacy Caraustar facilities as well, expanding our goal to cover our entire enterprise. Globally, we diverted 85 percent of waste from landfills in 2021 and 149 Greif facilities achieved our waste diversion goal. These facilities continue to improve their waste management practices by leveraging waste matrices and through close collaboration with our stakeholders in support of our circular economy strategy. In 2021, 60 facilities reached 99+ percent diversion, of which, 50 facilities achieved zero waste to landfill.

Progress:

 FY 2021*

Facilities With 90%+ Diversion

Facilities With 99%+ Diversion

Facilities With Zero Waste to Landfill

Total

149

60

50

North America

74

17

12**

Europe

54

32

29**

Latin America

9

1

0

Asia Pacific

12

10

9

*Data accounts for production facilities globally and offices from our Soterra land management business only.
**Data from four facilities that were closed in FY21 is included

Performance

GRI 301-3,306-2
301-3
Reclaimed products and their packaging materials

306-2
Waste by type and disposal method

WASTE STREAM

 

FY 2018

FY 2019

FY 2020

FY 2021

Hazardous Waste

Total Waste to Landfill

1,639

2,428

3,608

1,033

Waste to Landfill

1,292

1,161

2,989

584

Incinerated (no energy recovery)****

347

1,267

619

449

Total Non-Landfill*

14,105

20,725

19,199

14,207

Incinerated (with energy recovery)**

3,372

4,073

3,275

4,480

Composted***

0

0

1

0

Recycled†

7,604

14,084

14,160

8,502

Reused††

1,513

651

706

482

Reclaimed†††

217

366

376

172

Miscellaneous (Non Landfill) ††††

1,399

1,551

681

571

Total Hazardous Waste

15,744

23,153

22,807

15,240

Non-Hazardous Waste

Total Waste to Landfill

54,594

33,837

137,211

155,367

Waste to Landfill

54,110

33,380

137,066

155,148

Incinerated (no energy recovery)****

485

457

151

218

Total Non-Landfill*

257,219

184,357

326,546

842,268

Incinerated (with energy recovery)**

2,054

2,950

17,006

13,409

Composted***

35

15,784

49,734

54,132

Recycled†

231,997

141,217

212,075

727,737

Reused††

11,641

12,321

19,441

18,445

Reclaimed†††

9,439

9,847

11,701

12,192

Miscellaneous (Non Landfill)††††

2,052

2,239

16,589

16,354

Total Non-Hazardous Waste

311,813

218,194

463,757

997,634

Total Waste (Hazardous & Non-Hazardous)

327,557

241,347

486,564

1,012,874

Notes:

  1. Legacy Caraustar facilities were incorporated into waste reporting in FY 2020.
  2. Total waste and Non-Hazardous recycling doubled this year due to inclusion of additional data from RFG facilities; last year RFG and IPG only included data from their own operational waste streams. However, RFG also collects waste paper from the market and recycles them.

*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.

Highlight Stories

Greif Joins Alliance to End Plastic Waste

In September 2021, Greif became a member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. Since 2019, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste has rallied around 90 member companies, project partners, allies and supporters who are committed to ending plastic waste in the environment. Greif joined this mission to partner with our customers and other organizations to bolster our circular economy strategy. We are the first industrial packaging firm to become a member to provide expertise from our unique perspective and be a leader in our industry. Membership requirements include investing in innovative projects to promote circular solutions. We will have more to share on this exciting development in 2022.

Highlight Stories

Greif Houston Facility

The Greif facility in Houston saw marked improvement in its ability to divert waste from landfill during 2021. The facility installed a de-chimer, a device designed to safely and efficiently remove the metal chimes which are used to secure the top and bottom of fibre drums. Once the chimes are removed, the fibre and metal can be directed to separate waste streams for recycling. Since the de-chimer’s installation in July 2021, the facility has diverted more than 90 percent of its waste from landfills. The facility sends the fibre to our PPS Recycling Group, further reducing the waste disposal cost.

Highlight Stories

Greif Hadımköy Reaches and Exceeds 90 Percent Waste Diversion Target

During 2020, the Hadımköy team in Turkey developed a waste roadmap by assessing their waste streams and determining a path to reduce their waste going to the landfill. The Hadımköy team introduced separation bins for paper waste in production, separated leftover food waste and sent it to local animal shelters, and introduced separation bins for packaging and paper waste in the cafeteria. In total, these efforts led to a seven percent reduction in their waste to landfill. By the end of 2020, Hadımköy used the projects on their waste roadmap to further reduce their waste to landfill an additional five percent and already exceeded the corporate 2025 waste target. In 2021, Hadımköy further reduced their waste sent to landfill by an additional 15 percent from the previous year.

Highlight Stories

Reducing VOC’s Through Use of Water-Based Exterior Paints

Greif is committed to using water-based exterior paints in our operations where possible, rather than high volatile organic compound (VOC) exterior paints. In Global Industrial Packaging (GIP) North America, eight out of our nine steel plants use water-based paints. In GIP China, the Greif Zhuhai plant has converted to over 75 percent water-based paints and, in 2021, they began testing the use of water-based regular drum liners in our products to further reduce the VOC impact of our products. The Greif Shanghai plant begun the conversion process in 2021 as well. In EMEA, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, and Poland use water-based paints alongside solvent-based paints.

Highlight Stories

Achieving Waste Reduction through Customer Service Excellence

In 2019, Greif’s Global Industrial Packaging (GIP) facility in Sweden received a customer complaint that jerrycans were being damaged during unpacking because the plastic film used to wrap the pallets was too tight and difficult to remove. In response, the facility tested a number of film alternatives that were easier to remove and posed less risk of damaging the cans and ultimately selected an alternative that reduced the use of film by 48 percent, saving 7,500 kg of materials annually. The transition also led to $12,000 USD savings and a 22,000 kg emission reduction. In order to scale the project, the team has updated the standard operating procedure for using similar films and have worked with our procurement team to update the supplier and material for the film.

Highlight Stories

Recycle and Reuse Initiatives at GIP Flexibles Facility

Our GIP Flexibles Facility in Thirsk, UK has implemented a variety of initiatives related to recycling and reuse, in close collaboration with customers and suppliers. The facility introduced programs to reuse cardboard dividers, pallets, thread spools, solvent, bag on roll tubes and scrap wood. Our reuse initiatives include close collaboration with suppliers to return spools and cardboard dividers for them to reuse, reducing costs and environment impacts for both companies. We also work with our customers to collect pallets and tubes for our own reuse. The facility also recycles all plastic, cardboard, paper and solvent that cannot be reclaimed. These practices help reduce Greif’s footprint and can often reduce costs, such as incineration expenses.

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SUSTAINABILITY HIGHLIGHTS

85%

Of Waste Diverted From Landfills

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

50

Facilities Achieving Zero Waste to Landfill

Highlighting best management practices to eliminate, reduce and divert waste.