The global drinks firm is working towards zero waste to landfill targets at all of its sites by 2015, but is looking to move its waste management activities further up the hierarchy via a five-pronged approach.

This involves eliminating materials where possible, reducing materials, finding agricultural uses for waste and recycling packaging and other materials.

The company’s latest sustainability and responsibility report shows it has reduced waste to landfill by 53.4% this year, contributing to an overall reduction of 77.9% against a 2007 baseline. This amounts to the equivalent of 81,099 tonnes of manufacturing waste now being reused or recycled.

As a result, it has eliminated an estimated 80,000 tonnes of GHG emissions, equivalent to 11% of Diageo’s total emissions from direct operations.

Overall, 25 operational sites have achieved zero waste to landfill, including Diageo’s first site in Africa, the Achimota brewery in Ghana, where Guinness is produced. In addition, 50 sites now send less than one tonne of waste to landfill.

While the vast majority of Diageo’s waste is non-hazardous, it is looking to better utilise certain by-products such as the yeast from the brewing and distillation processes and the pulped labels from recycled bottles.

For instance, at several of its Mey Icki facilities in Turkey, by‑products from raki distillation are now being used in animal feed and fertilisers. This has reduced waste to landfill by 40% this year.

Similarly, at the company’s distillery in the US Virgin Islands, all by‑products from rum distillation are being used in animal feed.

Diageo is also focussing on technical innovation to cut down on material use. At a Guinness brewery in Nigeria, a new beer membrane filtration system has eliminated the need to use kieselguhr, a sock rock used for filtration, reducing overall waste by 14% this year.

The same technology has been applied at its Ogba brewery – last year, this reduced waste to landfill by 53% at the site within a 12-month timeframe.

“Eliminating waste to landfill entirely by 2015 remains a challenging target, but we are making good progress,” the company states.

Maxine Perella

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