SUEZ treats 33% more waste in 2021

SUEZ recycling and recovery UK published its 2021 Sustainability report today (2 August), where it highlighted that it sent almost 33% more waste for recycling, reuse and recovery than in 2020.

Suez sale
The deal for Suez remains subject to CMA approval, and the 'New Suez' has first refusal

The company said that it sent more than 6.7 million tonnes for recycling, recovery or reuse last year compared to around 4.5 million tonnes in 2020.

Of the 2021 tonnage, more than 1.3 million tonnes were sent for recycling, which comprised of 458,000 tonnes of food or green waste and 914,000 tonnes of other materials.

The report said 5.4 million tonnes of waste was reported as sent for recovery. Of this, 2.32 million tonnes were processed through the company’s energy from waste (EfW) facilities and 1.5 million tonnes were processed through its other facilities – “to produce biomass for recovery, refuse derived fuel and solid recovered fuel or to be used in landfill restoration – with the remaining materials sent to external facilities for similar recovery.”

The report explained that energy generation from residual waste across SUEZ’s portfolio increased by 7% on 2020, at 1.7m megawatt hours of electricity.

The company recorded 2.78% increase in carbon emissions – from 1.41 million TeqCO2 (equivalent tonnes of carbon dioxide) to 1.45 million TeqCO2 –  put down to the higher volumes of material handled. However, it added that its carbon emissions intensity per tonne of waste handled “decreased by 0.3% due to operational improvements”.

Net zero

SUEZ aims to achieve net zero in its operations by 2040, in line with the Environmental Services Association’s (ESA) strategy for the sector. As part of the commitment, the company reported producing more than 700,000 tonnes of alternative fuels.

The company also said that, in partnership with energy giant BP, it is involved in an industrial cluster for carbon capture, usage and storage.

It added: “Our Teesside energy-from-waste facility is part of the East Coast Cluster, which won government backing in October 2021, putting it on course for deployment in the mid-2020s.”

Alongside other improvements, the company reported increasing its turnover by more than 13% to £928 million. The reported also mentioned social value, which is based on 88 performance indicators that capture environmental, economic and social impacts to measure the overall value generated for society. This reached more than £2.18 billion, “some £200 million higher than 2020”.

People support

The report outlines that SUEZ “stepped up support for its people and local communities”. The company explained that it designed what it called the industry’s first Certificate of Professional Competence course on mental health and wellbeing at work for its drivers.

Additionally, it launched its inclusion and diversity plan, and produced its first ethnicity pay gap report alongside its mandatory gender pay gap reporting.

SUEZ then reported it distributed £4.2 million for local communities around the UK. Charitable donations raised through employee fundraising and corporate donations exceeded £181,000, raising its highest amount yet for partner Macmillan Cancer Support (see story).


John Scanlon, chief executive officer for SUEZ UK, commented: “In 2021, we redefined our purpose to Building a Sustainable Future that doesn’t cost the earth reflecting our People, Planet, Profit ethos, which recognises that we are in the business of preserving resources not only to uphold our financial viability, but also to benefit our local communities, wider society and our environment.

“I am proud of the progress we made in all three areas of our triple bottom line in 2021 and confident we will continually improve on this as we embed the triple bottom line more deeply throughout our business on our journey to net zero.”

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