We aim at reducing our waste
We set our target to reduce waste generation by 25% by 2030, compared with our 2015 base year. We manage to recover about 95% of our waste globally, predominantly through recovery of waste as a fuel to generate energy and recovery and regeneration of solvents.
UCB’s waste mapping reinforces the need to focus on reducing the amount of fresh raw materials used in chemical production. We are therefore paying close attention to the environmental impacts of chemical manufacturing, and more specifically, working on the eco-design of our medicine production processes.
To evaluate our efforts in this area, UCB adopted the Process Mass Intensity (PMI) metric developed by the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Green Chemical Institute (GCI). This method allows to monitor the quantity of raw materials (kg) needed to manufacture 1 kg of active pharmaceutical ingredient – the smaller it is, the less waste is generated.
For every new synthetic molecule, we follow three best practices to minimize waste generation:
- Reduce: reducing fresh raw materials use
- Reuse: directly reutilize raw materials multiple times
- Recycle: treat the raw materials wastes either in-house or externally to make them reusable.
Alongside our ‘green by design’ approach, we are working on continuously improving our existing manufacturing processes. To have a better understanding of the amount of waste generated in our plants we decided to launch a project focusing on the production of one Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient. Its goal was to identify, explain and quantify the generation of any solid and liquid waste and propose improvements to reduce it as much as possible.
Each component involved in the manufacturing process was monitored throughout its lifecycle, from the delivery to the warehouse of incoming raw materials until the stock of finished products. A special attention was given to the transformation of solvents, representing a significant part of the impact. More than ten improvements were identified, with a potential reduction of yearly amount of waste produced estimated around - 28% for one manufacturing process.
This very satisfactory result has enabled us to strengthen the integration of environmental parameters into the heart of our manufacturing processes and to progressively start rolling out this project to all our current manufacturing operations.
Want to know where we are regarding our Waste and Water targets: Please check our last data here.