Avient is committed to eliminating or reducing waste generated by our operations and enabling our customers to meet their waste minimization goals.
Our efforts are aimed at reducing the quantity of hazardous and non-hazardous waste generated. Our waste management approach adds value by reducing the risk of environmental harm, as well as costs associated with waste management. These efforts are in line with our commitment to sustainability and strengthen the health of our communities and operations around the world.
The majority of our waste is non-hazardous process scrap and purge materials. Other wastes may be generated from sources such as periodic construction and demolition projects, packaging from raw materials and products, laboratory waste from quality assurance activities, and routine office-based activities.
Expectations for the management of hazardous and non-hazardous waste are governed by Avient’s internal waste management standards which are applicable to all facilities. These waste standards have established a hierarchy of waste management with the elimination of waste as the highest priority, followed by reuse or recycling, and disposal without any beneficial reuse as the lowest priority. We implement programs to identify reuse opportunities for off-quality products and other waste streams and improve facility resource efficiency to reduce waste generation. Compliance with these expectations is regularly evaluated through our comprehensive EH&S audit program.
Our 2030 goal of reducing waste to landfill intensity by 3% on an annual basis, as well as annual incentives, are designed to encourage facilities to eliminate waste generation and identify beneficial uses for their remaining waste streams. To monitor progress against these goals, we track waste data from each site on a monthly basis. Beyond quantities of waste generated, this monthly data includes information on positive and negative influences that impact performance.
It is this granular information that Avient utilizes to drive improvement projects. In 2022, we were able to further optimize operations through executing over 100 waste minimization projects around the world. Additionally, 41 of our manufacturing sites globally sent no waste to landfills in 2022. For detailed information on these projects, and GHG avoidance resulting from them, we invite you to read our most recent Climate Change Report submitted to CDP.
While our goal focuses on waste impacts from our direct operations, we also seek opportunities along our value chain to work with suppliers to reduce waste associated with shipping materials and with customers by offering products that incorporate recycled content or extend the useful life of a product.
We regularly conduct risk based audits to inspect external waste disposal and recycling companies to ensure the proper disposal of waste. In this way, we also keep today’s waste from becoming tomorrow’s contamination.
Within Avient Protective Materials, there is an on-going effort to find an outlet for fiber and unidirectional (UD) manufacturing waste. In Greenville, North Carolina an estimated 400 tons of UD manufacturing waste was being sent to the landfill annually. The Waste to Product team collaborated with an external partner, specializing in textile and plastic raw materials, to identify an alternative outlet for the UD waste or ultra high molecular weight polyethylene sheets.
Our partner was able to process the waste into cabinet panels for equipment protection. This sustainable solution not only diverted waste from the landfill for Avient, but also create a revenuegenerating stream for both parties.
In the first year of the project, approximately 150 tons of waste was diverted. The actual revenue and cost savings impact more than doubled our expectations. This is the first waste stream that the Greenville team was able to find a more economical and sustainable solution, but more will soon follow. The teams is looking to integrate each of the identified waste streams into a cycle of resource consumption for other industries, so no resources as waste at any point along the way.
Plastic is a miraculous, versatile material that positively influences our world. It is in equipment that helps save lives, keeps food safe from spoilage, lowers the use of fossil fuels, and makes alternative energy possible.
However, some plastics are also in places they shouldn’t be, like in our oceans and rivers. They find their way to landfills instead of being recycled. Avient is committed to eliminating plastic waste through innovation, broad stakeholder engagement, and strong partnerships and alliances.
We are continuously making a positive impact through our innovative portfolio of technologies that enable our customers to improve plastic recyclability and reduce the amount of material required for packaging. However, no one company or country can solve the plastics waste problem. That is why Avient joined the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. As a founding member, we are collaborating with over 80 member companies and supporters to promote infrastructure, education and engagement, innovation, and clean up efforts to keep plastic waste in the right place.
The alliance has brought together people, businesses, governments, and organizations to find new ways to rethink, recover, and recycle plastic waste with the goal of protecting the natural resources and ecosystems that communities everywhere depend on.
Members of the alliance have already collectively committed more than $1.5 billion to fund projects in 30 countries. Solutions to address the challenge of post-consumer plastic waste will require collective support, innovation and collaboration on a global basis—from resin producers, waste management companies, consumer brands and retailers to nongovernmental organizations, governments and consumers.
We will continue to invest and work aggressively to eliminate plastic waste in the environment to deliver critical sustainability and performance benefits to people and communities around the world and live up to our promise of meeting the needs of the present without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their needs.
If soil and groundwater contamination occurs at active or former Avient sites, proper remediation measures are reviewed based on current legal and technical standards and undertaken as necessary.
A worldwide network of experts ensures proper remedial solutions are implemented. These solutions strive to maximize the conservation of natural resources, climate protection efforts, costs and social responsibility. This means making customized decisions on a case-by-case basis. Relevant sites are documented in a contaminated site database. In 2021, ongoing remediation work on behalf of Avient continued on schedule, and planning was concluded on future remediation projects.
In addition to being a founding and active member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, Avient’s global operations participate in Operation Clean Sweep. Operation Clean Sweep’s overarching goal is to ensure that every plastic resin handling operation achieves zero loss of pellet, flake, and powder. This greatly helps to protect the environment and save valuable resources. Operation Clean Sweep companies greatly help to prevent plastics from making their way into the ocean, promoting safety, health and cleanliness for marine life.
We recognize the importance of responsibly managing plastic pellet loss within our operations. In addition to ongoing operator training, we conduct regular assessments of our management system procedures to ensure they are effective, and implement improvement measures if needed. On a daily basis, plant personnel monitor structural controls and work practices at our facilities via routine daily rounds. When a loss of containment is discovered, loose pellets are promptly contained and cleaned up. Pellet recovery equipment, such as skimmers and sieves, are in place to recover pellets captured in our drainage systems.