Materials & Waste
Environmental Sustainability

The proper management of materials and waste from our facilities is important to the communities where we operate and is the focus of our environmental permits and other regulatory requirements.

Landfill + Incineration33%29%24%22%28%
Goal    ≤30%

The percentage of waste we sent to landfill and incineration (without energy recovery) increased from 2014 to 2015 due to changes in the way we handled two nonhazardous waste streams. One waste stream that had previously been composted was required to be landfilled due to a regulatory change. Another stream was burned in an on-site incinerator that is not equipped with energy recovery.

To minimize our environmental footprint, we look for opportunities to avoid the use of hazardous materials, reuse or recycle materials, and prevent the generation of waste. When prevention, reuse and recycling are not practical, we apply controls and treatment technologies to prevent human health impacts and minimize environmental impacts.

Waste minimization begins with the design of our manufacturing processes. Through our Green and Sustainable Science program, we design new processes that use fewer and safer chemicals; consume less energy, less water and other resources; and generate less waste. Our process-development biologists, chemists and engineers have the expertise to create more sustainable ways to make our products.

Additional information on our Waste Prevention & Management, Solvent Use and Chemical Management programs, as well as our performance in these areas, can be found in the tabs above.


We continuously strive to decrease the total amount of operational waste we generate, and maximize the use of environmentally beneficial disposal methods like recycling, composting and waste-to-energy.

The amount of waste we generate reflects the efficiency of our manufacturing processes. Our facilities track and report the amount of operational waste they generate and how it is managed.

Waste types are defined differently in various parts of the world. For this report, we have divided our operational waste into two categories:

  • Hazardous waste: Heavily regulated or high-risk waste streams that need to be either recovered, neutralized, treated or destroyed to address a particular hazard such as toxicity, flammability, corrosivity, radioactivity, pharmaceutically active or infectious
  • Nonhazardous waste: All other operational wastes

Our definition of operational waste does not include construction or demolition waste from projects, because the amount of project-related waste can vary significantly from year to year based on the number and size of projects.

We reduced the total amount of operational waste generated by 17 percent from 2014 to 2015.This waste reduction helps to lower our manufacturing costs, as well as shrink our environmental footprint.

In 2015, a third of our facilities sent zero operational waste to landfills. In addition, one of our largest research and vaccine manufacturing facilities located in West Point, Pennsylvania in the United States, diverted 85 percent of its operational waste and construction and demolition debris from landfills to more environmentally beneficial facilities.

Our Green & Sustainable Science program supports the design of efficient new manufacturing processes that use less solvent and generate less hazardous waste. To make sure that our hazardous and nonhazardous waste is managed in an environmentally responsible manner, we use only approved waste disposal facilities. Approved facilities demonstrate that they have the systems, technologies and practices to manage our waste streams responsibly and in compliance with all applicable requirements. We routinely verify the systems and practices of these facilities.

Solvent Use

Solvents play a key role in the manufacture of our active pharmaceutical ingredients and certain other products, as well as in equipment cleaning. Because of their significance to our business and the life-cycle impact they represent, we focus on designing our processes to minimize or avoid their use where practical. Where we use solvents, we maximize efficiency, and control them in our emissions, effluents and waste.

We have an active Green & Sustainable Science program to design our new processes using fewer solvents and other hazardous materials, and to reuse and recycle more of the solvents we do use. For cleaning our manufacturing equipment, we use water-based methods when they are equally effective as solvents. At each of our manufacturing sites, we have engineers who are responsible for identifying and driving process-improvement projects. When it is not practical to reuse regenerated solvents in our own production processes, we either work with suppliers who recover the spent solvents for resale to other industries, or burn them as a source of energy. For more information on this practice, please visit our Air Emissions page.

Emissions from solvent use are the primary component of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions to air. To control emissions of solvents into the environment, we employ treatment technologies and controls such as conservation vents, carbon filters, thermal oxidizers, condensers and scrubbers. Any spent solvents that leave our site as hazardous waste are managed at off-site facilities that are on our approved list of waste management sites.

Chemical Management

A comprehensive and effective chemical-management program is critical to the safety and protection of our employees, the communities in which we operate and the environment.

Comprehensive procedures, systems and processes are in place to manage the approval, procurement, inventory, receipt, transfer, storage, use and disposal of chemicals at all of our sites. We provide our employees and others with information about the identities and potential hazards of the chemicals in our operations and final products through proper labeling of chemicals and creation of safety data sheets.

Learn more about how we manage the environmental fate and effects of our own compounds and products.

Hazardous Waste (metric tons)20112012201320142015
Incinerated (without heat recovery)18,10614,68111,8369,7247,928
Energy Recovery21,56524,26722,18115,77311,089

Non-Hazardous Waste (metric tons)20112012201320142015
Incinerated (without heat recovery)5,6155,3981,5477881,243
Energy Recovery7,7699,07510,77610,4059,706
Hazardous & Non-Hazardous Waste (metric tons)20112012201320142015Reductions since 2011
Landfill & Incineration35,76431,30322,67918,48919,67545%
Recycled, Energy Recovery, Reused, or Composted68,71375,69570,60362,61547,97130%

In 2015, we managed approximately 70,000 metric tons of waste from our operations, a 17 percent decrease from 2014. Of this, 30,000 metric tons were hazardous waste, a 32 percent reduction versus the prior year. The reduction is in large part a result of certain manufacturing processes being discontinued or transferred to external partners.

Of the hazardous waste we generated in 2015, 68 percent was beneficially reused in some way. 20 percent of our hazardous waste was sent off-site for recycling and was either returned to us for reuse or sold to other industries. Another 36 percent was burned to generate power or as a fossil fuel substitute in industrial furnaces, such as cement kilns. Of the hazardous waste that couldn’t be recycled or beneficially reused, 26 percent was incinerated. Approximately 6 percent was sent to hazardous-waste landfills.

We recycled, reused or composted 50 percent of the 40,000 metric tons of nonhazardous waste we generated in 2015. Recycling and composting rates are increasing as more large-scale composting and broader recycling infrastructure is becoming available in the regions where we operate. We are evaluating and refining the programs in place at our facilities to reduce waste generation and increase recycling.

Solvent Use (Metric Tons)20112012201320142015
Total solvents used53,00046,00042,00035,00023,000
Fresh solvents used36,00033,00031,00024,00015,000
Recovered solvents used17,00013,00011,00011,0008,000
Previously reported data have been restated per our methodology, which includes adding facilities that have been acquired and removing facilities that have been sold.

In 2015, we used 15,000 metric tons of new solvents and 8,000 metric tons of recovered solvents in our production processes and cleaning activities. The decrease in total solvent use is the result of lower production volumes of active pharmaceutical ingredients at our facilities combined with newer, more material-efficient processes. In 2015, we used recovered solvents for 35 percent of our manufacturing and cleaning needs.