Working toward becoming a zero waste-to-landfill organization. 


  • Greif has a responsibility to reduce our operational waste and support the transition to a circular economy. As part of our Build to Last Strategy, we are working to advance closed-loop and zero-waste processes in our operations, for our products and with our suppliers.
  • We closely monitor the percentage of waste-to-landfill by business unit as a key performance indicator (KPI) in monthly facility reports shared with managers and above.
  • In 2023, 49 facilities achieved zero waste-to-landfill. We continue to make considerable progress across our remaining facilities as our teams collaborate globally to manage difficult-to-divert waste streams and identifying opportunities for beneficial reuse of waste within Greif or with partners.
  • We create additional business opportunities by strategically managing the return of customer waste in Industrial Products Group (IPG) facilities, allowing for the processing and sale of recycled materials, reinforcing our commitment to sustainable waste reclamation practices.

Why Waste Matters

GRI 3-3 | 301-1 | 301-3 | 306-1 | 306-2 | 306-3 | 306-4 | 306-5
Management of material topics
Materials used by weight or volume
Reclaimed products and their packaging materials
Waste generation and significant waste-related impacts
Management of significant waste-related impacts
Waste generated
Waste diverted from disposal
Waste directed to disposal

Aligned with Greif’s Build to Last Strategy, prioritizing sustainability and waste reduction is integral to safeguarding our future. Adopting closed-loop and zero-waste processes enables us to minimize operational packaging and landfill waste, resulting in positive environmental impacts and cost savings while supporting risk mitigation and health and safety objectives. By actively pursuing opportunities to reduce raw material use and promote resource conservation across our value chain, we deliver lighter-weight, cost-effective products that cater to customer needs. Reducing waste also impacts the communities in which we operate by mitigating health risks. We remain dedicated to tackling global environmental waste challenges through ongoing efforts to reduce waste and develop product lines with minimal impact. 


Greif’s Global Waste Team, comprised of colleagues from each business unit and region, oversees our waste program, meeting regularly to review our waste report and discuss our waste reduction initiatives and challenges. A waste KPI is integrated into Greif’s enterprise scorecard and is tracked via the Greif Business System 2.0 and Must Win Battle scorecard. The Global Waste Team and regional business unit leaders hold facility management accountable for managing and reducing waste and collaborate with teams to find and capitalize on unique opportunities at each facility.  

Colleagues are crucial contributors to our waste reduction initiatives, actively participating in and promoting sustainable practices. Engagement and ongoing awareness programs ensure the success and continuous improvement of our waste management efforts in our facilities. In 2023, we strengthened our colleague training programs across regions and conducted waste management and reporting training for all colleagues in North America, accessible via Greif University. Additionally, all colleagues in Latin America received monthly training emphasizing the importance of waste management. All colleagues interacting with hazardous waste are trained on Greif’s environmental, health and safety policies, hazard communication program and hazardous waste management training, which covers labeling, handling, storage, sorting and transportation processes. 

Greif’s Compliance Management System (CMS) facilitates accurate data collection, performance monitoring and progress measurement. All facilities report monthly waste data through this system and submit invoices for verification. Strengthening our commitment to data integrity, we implement data governance controls and receive third-party assurance for our waste data. Recognizing that waste management is a critical aspect of our sustainability efforts and Build to Last Strategy, we are actively enhancing data collection and initiatives. In 2024, we plan to integrate a waste KPI into our plant-level scorecard, ensuring a continual focus on our waste reduction goals at facilities. 

Greif’s waste diversion roadmaps help ensure we will meet our 2025 waste goal. These roadmaps offer insights into waste management for facilities falling short of our 90 percent landfill diversion goal, supporting the ongoing improvement of facility performance and alignment with achieving our 2030 goals. Facility waste roadmaps are created and housed in our CMS. 

hero new scaled

PPE Laundering to Reduce Waste

In 2023, the Global Operations Group launched Lean Six Sigma training for colleagues across our operations. Following the training, several opportunities have been identified to reduce our waste. One notable initiative is introducing a personal protective equipment (PPE) laundering program at our Alsip location, aimed at reusing PPE that is typically discarded. In addition to reducing waste produced at our facilities, this initiative is expected to yield annual cost savings.

Our Global Industrial Packaging (GIP) facilities that are not on track to meet our 2025 waste diversion goal use waste matrices to identify facilities’ waste streams and their disposal or diversion methods. These matrices provide insights into waste management performance and difficult-to-divert waste streams that we use to develop our waste diversion roadmaps. Collaborating with facility managers and partners, our subject matter experts develop processes to divert landfill waste toward circular options like reuse or recycling. These matrices also serve as collaboration tools, allowing comparisons of standard waste stream management practices across different facilities. 

Greif has also recognized waste management as an emerging business opportunity with our customers. Within our IPG facilities, we strategically manage the return of waste materials from customers, including fiber, waste tube and core to our facilities. We can then process these materials to produce material that is either sold to customers for a different use or used within our own operations. This initiative positions us as a provider of sustainable waste reclamation services and recycled products, offering value to our customers and reinforcing our commitment to environmentally responsible practices.  

iStock 1455668147 scaled

RFG and Johnsonville Collaboration on Recycling and Waste Reduction

A recent collaboration between the Recovered Fiber Group (RFG) and the Johnsonville, South Carolina Tube and Core plant resulted in significant improvements in recycling processes and cost savings. The Johnsonville plant, faced with the challenge of shipping loose tubes and cores off site for baling, sought a more efficient solution. With the expertise of RFG and the collaboration with Waste 2 Solutions, a custom baler was installed on site, reducing processing fees by $6,000 a month and improving safety measures. This initiative not only optimizes waste management but also aligns with Greif's sustainability goals, reinforcing the company's commitment to circularity, safety and resource efficiency.

Goals, Progress & Performance

2025 Goal:

  • Divert 90 percent of waste from landfills from all Greif production facilities globally by the end of FY25. 

2030 Goal:

  • Reach zero waste-to-landfill at 97 percent of our production facilities. 

We continue to make significant progress toward achieving our waste diversion goals. 49 facilities achieved zero waste-to-landfill, and an additional 99 facilities achieved 90 percent diversion in 2023. Notably, all our Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific facilities successfully achieved our 2025 goal in 2023. In 2023, we diverted 88 percent of all waste from landfill. 

In line with our One Greif approach, we continued to enhance collaboration across business units in North America in 2023, fostering improved waste management performance and the development of innovative solutions within our operations. We conduct regular waste audits to identify waste streams at our sites and explore options for diverting waste from landfills. Notably, five new GIP sites started working with Greif RFG to streamline their recycling processes, resulting in over 1,000 US tons diverted from the landfill through this process. We aim to prioritize practical ways to reuse waste internally at other sites or within different business units. 

In our ongoing efforts to minimize landfill contributions and repurpose waste, we have engaged in strategic collaborations with several partners. We are partnering with NuCycle to process wood, plastic stretch film, and other waste generated by our IPG into a renewable fuel that can be used as a substitute for coal. We are also initiating plans to work with a partner to divert and to repurpose plastics, including stretch film, totes, drums and other heavy plastics, to produce hydrogen fuel. 

While we have made significant strides, challenges persist with difficult-to-divert waste streams. Specifically, the primary waste streams within our mill group—residual fiber and ragger tail—have traditionally ended up in landfills, creating diversion challenges. Aligned with our 2025 and 2030 goals, we are actively pursuing innovative solutions and engaging in discussions with external partners to explore viable diversion options for this type of waste.

Greif Facilities Progress toward Waste Diversion Goals

 FY 2023*

Facilities With 90%-99% Diversion Facilities With 99%-99.5% Diversion Facilities With Zero Waste to Landfill (99.5%+ Diversion)
Total 83 16 49
North America 53 9 3
Europe 17 6 24
Latin America 13 0 2
Asia Pacific 0 1 9
*Data accounts for production facilities globally and offices from our Soterra land management business only. Data excludes sites acquired in FY 2023.
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 fiber drums. Once the chimes are removed, the fiber 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 fiber to our PPS Recycling Group, further reducing the waste disposal cost.

Greif Houston Facility
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 of our nine steel plants use water-based paints. In our Asia Pacific (APAC) facilities, there’s ongoing transition to water-based paints, which includes our facilities in Zhuhai, Shanghai and Taicang, with 81 percent, 84 percent and 41 percent, respectively, of their paint usage being water-based in 2023. In EMEA, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and Poland use water-based paints alongside solvent-based paints.

Water-Based Exterior Paints
Previous slide
Next slide