Waste is a triple problem: resources are used needlessly, greenhouse gases are emitted in producing it and, disposing of waste has environmental impacts. For example, decomposing waste may generate methane, a greenhouse gas. As consumption grows and waste increases, finding places to put the waste is an increasing problem.
We are committed to reducing waste and mitigating the impacts of the waste we create, and are working on a long-term strategy. Our current approach is based on a simple waste hierarchy. Disposal in landfill is a last resort, and we have committed to sending no waste to landfill by 2015.
The processes required to eliminate waste can actually use additional energy or water. In those cases, finding a beneficial use for the waste, through recycling or incineration with energy recovery, may be the lowest-impact solution. We are working to understand these dynamics and develop long-term targets beyond landfill avoidance.
In 2011, our operations sent 69.1 kilotonnes of waste to landfill, 23 percent less than 2010 and a 51 percent reduction since 2007. Our continued progress in this area means we remain on track to achieve our 2015 goal of sending zero waste to landfill.
Mars Drinks is now 100 percent landfill free at its production sites, and Mars Chocolate and Wrigley have both cut landfill use by more than 70 percent since 2007.
A total of 33 of our 126 factories are now landfill free.
Mars, Incorporated and Segment Landfill Waste (Kilotonnes)
In 2011, Mars Petcare sites in Peterborough and Melton, U.K., achieved our zero waste to landfill target well ahead of the 2015 deadline. Waste from both sites is reused, recycled or used as fuel on site. By separating and recycling waste streams, sending food waste for anaerobic digestion and using any non-recyclable waste as fuel, the Melton site eliminated 250 tonnes of landfilled waste in just two years.
Four Wrigley factories send zero waste to landfill – Asquith, Australia; Bangalore, India; Plymouth, England and Poznan, Poland. The approaches vary from site to site – but no waste is unaccounted for.
In Poznan, for example, we have found a new purpose for waste that cannot be traditionally recycled. Excess gum waste is cut and mixed with other materials and used as fuel, and leftover sweeteners are purified and used as an energy source for manufacturing. In Asquith, disposable solid waste is sent to an off-site bioreactor. The resulting methane by-product is harnessed to generate alternative energy, which is directed into the electricity grid.
Mars Chocolate in Slough, U.K., and all Chocolate sites in continental Europe have reached our 2015 goal of zero waste to landfill, three years ahead of schedule. The success is thanks to a committed team of Associates supported by local management. Instead of throwing waste materials into a single bin, Associates now take the time to sort materials into separate bins for more effective recycling. The sites have established relationships with local recycling companies. For example, one site works with a network of companies that turn waste into feed for nearby livestock, while another sends its waste to a local composting business.