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Waste

Waste is generated as a by-product of the production process throughout Hydro’s aluminum value chain.

bauxite mine

In general, these wastes are classified, stored, and disposed of according to the applicable regulations of the country in which the production site is located. However, Hydro has a responsibility beyond legal compliance to identify ways in which we can reduce our waste footprint. 

To achieve this, our waste management approach follows the waste mitigation hierarchy. This hierarchy defines a series of process options, from most favorable to least favorable, to protect human health and the environment from impacts associated with the generation, storage, handling, transportation and disposal of wastes. It aims to maximize the benefits from raw materials and process operations, so as to minimize the generation of waste. 

Our biggest challenges with respect to waste management occur primarily in our upstream processes. Tailings and bauxite residue from our mining and refining operations are by far the largest waste streams in our value chain and account for more than 90% of the total waste production in Hydro’s consolidated activities. The production of hazardous spent pot lining (SPL) in our smelting operations is also a challenge as it is difficult to identify ways to effectively recycle hazardous materials. However, we have management processes to address these waste streams.

Hydro’s approach to waste management is guided by our participation in industry associations (e.g. ICMM, IAI and ASI) and the best practices detailed in their performance standards and other internationally recognised standards (e.g. IFC). 

SDG 12 “Responsible Consumption and Production” 

12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment 

12.5By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse