For Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, waste management is a key aspect of its corporate environmental protection activities. This includes measures to prevent and reduce waste, as well as recycling when possible and disposing of waste properly. Proper waste handling with regard to occupational safety and storage on site is also of key importance.
During the process development phase, we pay particular attention to making the processes efficient, to minimizing the resulting waste, and to ensuring that the materials utilized pose as little danger to people and the environment as possible. We also work to optimize existing production processes. Efficient resource use is an important goal here, for cost-related reasons as well.
The function Environment Health Safety Security Quality (EQ), which is in charge of environmental protection, bears overall responsibility for waste management. Local EHS managers are in charge of this at the individual sites worldwide. EHS managers receive regular training from EQ. The type and quantity of waste is logged and documented at all sites.
With our Group-wide “Waste Management” standard, we have introduced a uniform waste management framework for all Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany sites. This standard defines organizational structures and processes and is regularly updated – the last update was in August 2011.
The majority of waste is recycled or disposed of externally. As the generator of the waste, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is ultimately responsible for the final disposal of the waste and selects its service providers with extreme care. The terms and conditions for disposal are contractually defined. Service providers are also required to properly document the disposal process. They are regularly audited by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, especially if they handle hazardous waste. When possible, waste such as solvents is also processed and recycled in-house.
Waste by disposal method
We produced less waste in 2012 than in 2011 (2012: 189,000 metric tons, 2011: 199,000 metric tons). As in the past several years, waste from construction and renovation projects had a strong influence on waste volume also in 2012, with 34% of the total waste volume consisting of construction, excavation and demolition waste (2011: 36%). Due to a major demolition and renovation project at the Darmstadt site, large quantities of hazardous waste had to be disposed of in 2012. At the same time, the volume of recyclable non-hazardous waste declined. A large portion of this waste was generated in 2011 during a major construction project in Darmstadt that was completed in 2012. This impacted the recycling rate, which dropped from 60% in 2011 to 47% in 2012.