Covia 2022 ESG Report: Advancing Waste Management Practices

Sep 26, 2023 12:30 PM ET
A person in high-vis clothing touching a potted plant on the ground "Palmita" sign near it.

At Covia, we promote waste management practices aimed at reducing the volume of waste we generate, as well as encouraging the responsible handling of such waste. We are committed to complying with local, regional, and national laws and regulations regarding waste management, recycling, and proper waste disposal. Our typical mining and processing sites have a mineral waste disposal plan that is reviewed annually and updated as needed. We also have recycling programs and diversion initiatives at various facilities, including at our headquarters in Independence, Ohio, where we compost food waste and recycle paper, glass, and plastics.

Our cross-functional Waste Steering Team, assembled in 2022, is charged with identifying the amount of waste we generate and finding opportunities for recycling or reuse to keep materials out of landfill. Through better measurement of our waste impact, we aim to increase transparency around our performance while identifying areas for additional improvement. Following the implementation of our new EMS, the team created a procedure and rollout plan for reporting waste criteria at all locations by 2025. We continue to focus on optimizing our water consumption and reducing mineral waste by using excess materials as backfill whenever viable during reclamation projects. Additionally, we work across our value chain to find ways to reduce our material use and divert waste from landfills. Through our reusable packaging initiative, we partner with certain suppliers to receive their deliveries in reusable totes.

In 2022, our sites continued to identify ways to recycle and reuse waste to lessen our environmental footprint. At the same time, our facilities have continued to be innovative by implementing more responsible materials management practices. For example, our Elco, Illinois, plant has begun using highly efficient and enhanced biodegradable stretch film to secure bagged materials. This film has a degradability rate greater than 60% within two years, which is a substantial advantage over legacy packaging materials that had a decomposition rate of 100 years or more.

In Jáltipan, Veracruz, our plant operators previously struggled with limited visibility when filling product silos, which often translated to overfilling the silos and subsequently losing product. To address this issue, Team Members installed a transmitter to communicate real-time capacity. In addition, operators also retrofitted the conveyor belts used at the site with heightened sidewalls to prevent spillage, saving lost product and protecting the belts from excess wear and tear.

Our Troup, Texas, plant regularly encounters clays that are not suitable for tile manufacturing. Historically, these clays were mined and then discarded. In 2022, Team Members were able to reduce a mineral waste stream by contracting with a local brick manufacturer who can use this material in their process.

In 2022, we completed 10 waste-related improvement projects, benefiting our local communities and ecosystems while providing significant cost savings to the organization. For more information about how Covia is advancing our waste management practices, visit our 2022 ESG Report.