Solid waste by destination

This year our sites generated 6,580 tonnes of solid waste, 26 percent less than last year. This decrease is mostly due to decreases in non-hazardous contaminated wastes in our Americas business. As shown in the graph to the right, our global waste to landfill has continued to decline for the past four years, maintaining the waste-to-landfill reduction targets which began with targets set in 2014 in Australia. In 2017, approximately 3.1 percent of our solid waste was classified as hazardous and is mostly waste from the manufacture of our explosives products. In the Americas, 300,889 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that was unsuitable for use in explosives manufacturing was converted to fertiliser and sold to local farmers as either a nitrogen rich liquid fertiliser, or a low grade solid fertiliser. 

Solid chemical waste

Our sites generated 2,224,578 tonnes of solid chemical waste this year, an increase of 4 percent from last year. Over 99 percent of this was phosphogypsum chemical waste that was stockpiled at our site in Phosphate Hill, Queensland, Australia. This waste is considered hazardous because of its low pH, however water and phosphate are currently being reclaimed from this material and it is planned that these stockpiles will ultimately be capped and re-vegetated. The other 268 tonnes (0.01 percent) of hazardous chemical waste was mostly generated during explosives initiation system manufacturing.

Liquid waste by destination

Our sites generated 15,247 kL of liquid waste that was sent offsite for re-use, recycling or disposal this year, an increase of 6 percent from 2016. This liquid waste total includes 10,691 kL of contaminated water, 5,028 kL of hazardous liquid waste and 840 kL of non-hazardous waste. Approximately 56 percent of the total liquid waste was nitrogen-rich water from our fertiliser manufacturing and distribution sites in Australia that was sent offsite to third parties for use as fertiliser and/or woodchip additive. This increased by 2 percent in 2017 with a successful Resource Recovery Exemption at an additional fertiliser distribution site which diverted 5 kL of nutrient rich water from waste to reuse and saved the site an estimated $160,000 per year in disposal costs. 73 percent of the hazardous liquid waste was septic liquid or sludge (considered a bio-hazard) which was sent offsite for disposal or treatment. 

2017 Waste reduction initiatives 

• At Moranbah, Australia, technology was internally developed to allow out-of-specification ammonium nitrate to be used in the manufacture of explosives emulsions, recycling 4,287 tonnes in 2017.

• At our St Helens, USA plant, a project to recycle oil-water sludge through the filter press system was implemented, reducing the amount of waste produced.

• Galoryl day tank waste from our Louisiana, Missouri, USA site is now sent for reclaim.

• At Carthage, USA, a 5 year project begun last year to completely redesign the site wastewater system has progressed to 40 percent completion in 2017. The project is considering all wastewaters and evaluating each stream for reduction, elimination or reuse to reclaim valuable ammonia and nitrates, including solids which have previously been filtered and disposed of.

• In 2017, our Carthage, USA site realised the benefits from the installation of a $260,000 Micro-Auto Gasification System (MAGS) purchased last year. The MAGS converts the organics in non-hazardous explosives contaminated waste into syngas, which is used as fuel for the MAGS and to generate hot water. This saved approximately $130,000 in waste disposal and energy costs this year and contributed substantially to the reduction in solid waste reported above.

• At Simsbury, USA, approximately $4,000 and 150 plywood sheets were saved in 2017 through processes established last year to eliminate the use of plywood in customer shipments and to divert plastic wrap, bolts and metal flanges to recycling with the metals from 3,759 spools recycled.