british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2009 - Innovations in waste management

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SUSTAINABILITY REPORT 2009
 

Recycling

Our target to recycle at least 75 per cent of our waste each year was exceeded in 2009 with a global rate of 83.3 per cent. Through recycling, we reduce pressure on supplies of raw materials, and also avoid the emissions that result from sending waste to landfill.

British American Tobacco Malaysia has recently made excellent progress. Since 2006, the company has introduced a series of innovative measures, such as converting general waste into fuel, composting tobacco dust into organic fertilisers and establishing recycling centres at its sites. These measures resulted in a significant increase from 16.6 per cent of waste recycled in 2005 to 95.9 per cent in 2009.

British American Tobacco Nigeria also significantly increased its recycling rates, through a number of innovative waste management initiatives including:

  • Giving waste oil to a company that uses it to fuel a cement manufacturing kiln;
  • Converting waste filters into head support pillows;
  • Processing tobacco waste to make compost;
  • Recycling waste paper to make toilet rolls and egg crates; and
  • Recycling waste cartons into materials for creating suspended ceilings in buildings.

As a result, the company’s recycling rate has risen from 29 per cent in 2007 to 57.5 per cent in 2009.

Assessing the sustainability of FIBEX

FIBEX is a British American Tobacco patented technology for converting tobacco of a previously unworkable particle size, such as tobacco dust and stems, into a useable product similar to ordinary tobacco. It involves crushing and extruding tobacco materials and reconstituting them under high pressure. The finished product can then be blended with the usual tobacco, reducing the raw material wastage from our factories.

Intuitively we believed that the FIBEX process would bring environmental benefits, but to better quantify this we carried out a life cycle analysis covering energy use, greenhouse gases and water impacts. Overall, this showed that the main benefits of local reuse of waste and reducing transportation outweigh the increases in energy and other resources needed to run the technology. The detailed analysis confirmed that our new technology is beneficial to the environment, and also gives us a baseline from which to plan for further reductions.