Waste management is both a local issue for the communities in which we live and operate, and a global issue when it comes to ocean plastics pollution. As a global manufacturer, we have an important role to play in reducing our operational waste and contributing to the circular economy approach. Our responsible waste management strategy is key in this regard. We look for opportunities across the entire value chain to use raw materials more efficiently; use less hazardous materials; reduce the amount of waste generated; design for recyclability; and manufacture products that are recyclable or have minimal environmental impact when entering the environment. For information about our management approach, see EHS&S Governance.
The waste streams generated directly by our operations include the hazardous and non-hazardous wastes from research laboratories, industrial manufacturing processes and administrative offices. The end-of-life waste resulting from our products, such as consumer healthcare products and medical devices, are indirect waste streams outside our immediate sphere of control. For more information on how we approach product end-of-life impacts, see Sustainable Packaging section.
Regulatory requirements for operational waste management differ by location. Every Johnson & Johnson site must comply with local requirements and develop its own waste management strategy based on the following hierarchy of treatment/disposal technologies:
- Source reduction
- Chemical/biological treatment
- Incineration/energy recovery
- Land disposal
We have been systematically reducing the amount of raw material we use and finding alternatives to landfill disposal for our waste streams, with goals in place since 2005 to reduce the amount of waste we dispose. These efforts continue, and go one step further as we work to increase waste diversion rates from our manufacturing processes. In 2017, we achieved 74.7% waste diversion rate compared with 69.3% in 2016.36
In 2017, our Waste-to-Value program launched at manufacturing sites where our Consumer products are made. The program involves a dual-track approach, where one dedicated group provides internal and external best practices for recycling and reuse solutions to sites and then collaborates with a parallel-pathing group that accelerates end-to-end process optimizations to minimize costs and find efficiencies. In addition to internal collaboration efforts, a key element in this process is to establish external partnerships for alternative disposal routes.
Piloted in 2016, an innovative installation to treat liquid waste streams from chemical production was put into full operation in 2017 to support manufacturing of INVOKANA (canagliflozin) at our Janssen Geel site in Belgium. The “Plant on a Truck” project consists of a mobile wastewater treatment unit that can be deployed where needed to increase utilization; supports our circular efforts; and allows us to treat wastewater in an economic and more sustainable way. Using the Plant on a Truck, Geel is now able to recover zinc metals used in processing and send them for recycling and reuse. Other benefits include improved wastewater quality and reduced emissions from shipping waste streams off-site for processing. More uses for the Plant on a Truck are in development to process additional waste streams.
At our Janssen Biologics facility in Leiden, the Netherlands, we launched an initiative to separate food waste in order to produce renewable energy in the form of biogas. With food waste diverted into a separate waste stream, we created green energy, which is now used on-site.
Hoping to address the use of plastic disposables and single-use technologies (SUTs) in the biopharmaceutical industry, our R&D team at Janssen’s Malvern, Pennsylvania campus launched the Biopharma Recycling Initiative, a unique, single-stream recycling program for SUT products that is diverting, sterilizing, shredding and recycling 100% of SUT and other mixed-use plastics into industrial-grade plastic lumber. Awarded a Sustainability Accelerator Grant to expand the program campus-wide, the Malvern team’s groundbreaking work on plastics recycling will be scaled to other locations across the United States.
* Our total non-hazardous waste increased by 9.7% in 2017 compared with 2016 for several reasons, including production volume increases, inclusion of previously untracked waste streams into our reporting, and waste generated as a result of natural disasters such as Hurricane Maria (Puerto Rico sites), and flooding event in Johnson & Johnson Greece site.
36 Waste diversion rate defined as percentage of non-hazardous waste being reused or recycled at manufacturing sites. This excludes non-hazardous waste that we consider exempt from this metric, i.e. waste waters and waste that has counterfeit risk, liability risk or environmental risk associated with the recycling/reuse of the waste stream.