Waste reduction : Schaeffler’s UK plant reaches 97% reduction in waste to landfill

© Schaeffler

Recently the Schaeffler Group has been selected as one of the 50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders worldwide on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations (UN). The common objective of this initiative is the achievement of the 17 goals for sustainable development set by the United Nations.

In 2018, the total tonnage of main waste streams (including paper, cardboard, plastic, wood and general waste) at Sheffield was 276 tonnes, of which 58 tonnes was general waste and sent to landfill. Schaeffler implemented measures to support sustainable production, by protecting the environment and working towards reducing overall wastage sent to landfill.

One of the biggest achievements in reducing waste to landfill by 97% was redirecting the compactor waste from landfill to energy recovery – a process that produces electricity to feed into the national grid, as well as providing hot water for district heating supplying social housing, theatres and government buildings within the Sheffield area.

In its ‘2020 Waste to Energy Year End Report’, the waste service company reported that the Sheffield plant in 2020 had saved 9,000 kg of CO2 which is equivalent to planting 30 trees, taking 3.25 passenger cars off the road, or providing power for 5.29 homes.

Other waste streams at the plant are also recycled, for example, cardboard is recycled into paper products, plastic is processed into pellets and used to make bubble wrap for certain packaging and damp-proof membranes for use in the construction industry.

Scrap wood is taken to Stobart Energy based in nearby Rotherham. With long term contracts in place they supply nearly two million tonnes of fuel to Energy Recovery Facilities. This generates renewable energy equivalent to the annual domestic electricity needs of 2% of the UK population.

The supplier of electricity to the plant has declared a 100% green energy supply for the period 2019/20, comprising of 47.8% bio-energy, 32.7% wind, 11.7% photovoltaic (solar), and 7.8% hydropower.