Note 18: Raw materials efficiency

Material efficiency

Material efficiency is one of our new focus areas, which is wider than our current focus on waste. We will maximize our conversion of raw materials into final product by solving the root cause of the losses. This will not only reduce the waste, but will also, for example, decrease COD and the carbon dioxide scope 3 upstream. A variety of projects was initiated:

  • At Decorative Paints, we used to collect paint from wash water and sell it as a raw material instead of incinerating it, which reduced our waste stream. Now we are reducing the formation of this wash water, while any that is generated will be used again in production, thus improving our material efficiency
  • The Chelates business studied the drivers for the efficiency of reactions, which resulted in a better control regime and a financial benefit of more than €2 million
  • Specialty Chemicals started a program to identify opportunities on material efficiency. Facts were collected at 28 sites and based on this information, 12 sites were selected to have a workshop on opportunities

Raw material flow
in kilotons

Raw material flow, in kilotons (graphic)Raw material flow, in kilotons (graphic)


Effective waste management helps to increase raw material efficiency in our manufacturing operations, while reducing both our environmental footprint and costs. We have moved our focus from managing/reducing total waste to eliminating waste by increasing material efficiency. We are still moving towards eliminating hazardous waste to landfill. The exception is asbestos waste – mainly from demolishing old equipment and buildings – where the preferred current safe disposal route is properly designed landfill facilities.

  • Total waste per ton of production generated and leaving our sites was down 5 percent to 8.6 kg/ton. The total waste volume fell to 149 kilotons, a decrease of 7 percent. The indicative monetary value of the total waste reduction is about €4 million
  • Hazardous waste continues to fall
  • The focus on waste over past years resulted in a reduction in waste at the majority of our sites

Total waste
in kilotons

Total waste, in kilotons (bar chart)Total waste, in kilotons (bar chart)

Waste means any substance or object arising from our routine operations which we discard or intend to discard, or we are required to discard.

Total waste per Business Area






In kilotons





Decorative Paints





Performance Coatings





Specialty Chemicals





Hazardous waste
in kilotons

Hazardous waste, in kilotons (bar chart)Hazardous waste, in kilotons (bar chart)

Hazardous waste is waste that is classified and regulated as such according to the national, state or local legislation in place.