Conserve Resource Efficiency


SDG 12 ‘Responsible consumption and production’ addresses the need to make efficient use of natural resources ensuring the ability for sustainable economic growth. Therefore, the chemical industry focuses on alternative designs of materials leading to improved resource efficiency in the production process, the use-phase, as well as the end-of-life. Improved resource efficiency will be reflected in the way water and waste in the sector is managed but is also a crucial step towards circular economy and reduced GHG emissions.

Prevent and minimise hazardous and non-hazardous waste

Resource efficiency of production processes, gaining economic as well as ecological benefits, is also reflected in the amount of waste produced. Waste prevention has been, is and will likely remain a priority within the chemical industry, as increased attention is given to stimulate reuse and recycling, both important steps towards a successful circular economy.

Hazardous and non-hazardous waste generation and treatment: disposal and recovery

The total amount of industrial waste generated by the chemical industry varies between 8 and 16 million metric tonnes of which 30 to 40% is hazardous waste. The global economic recession in 2008-2009 resulted clearly in a reduced amount of waste. This amount increased over the period 2009-2013. The lower amount of waste generated in 2014 till 2016, alongside an increase of the production index, suggests a further improvement of the resource efficiency, but this trend did not continue as considerable amounts of mainly non-hazardous waste were reported in 2017 and 2018.  

Total hazardous and non-hazardous waste in the EU27 chemical industry

Recovered fraction of hazardous and non-hazardous waste from EU27 chemicals production

Key levers for industry activity & company examples

1. Implement a waste hierarchy system
2. Increase prevention of waste production
3. Improving resource efficiency continuously
4
. Dealing with residuals and by-products

5. Increase recycling & re-use of products to feedstock

Contribution to the EU Green Deal

EU waste policy aims to contribute to the circular economy by extracting high-quality resources from waste as much as possible. The EU Green Deal aims to promote growth by transitioning to a modern, resource efficient and competitive economy. EU waste policy aims to protect the environment and human health and help the EU’s transition to a circular economy.

Associated SDG targets

UN SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
SDG-Goal-11-sustainableCitiesAndCommunities
SDG 12-ResponsibleConsumptionAndProduction

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