Reporting 2021

Resource Conservation and Waste Management

The responsible use of resources is an essential part of our environmental responsibility. With green waste management, we aim to reduce negative impacts on the environment.

As part of our environmental responsibility, we place a strong focus on energy consumption and emissions – this is a consequence of the nature of our business as a logistics service provider and the associated impacts of our activities on the environment. Thanks to management systems, ambitious targets and a wide range of effective measures, we are well on the way to achieving our goals in these areas. In the future, we want to be at least as successful in managing our recyclables and waste volumes. To this end, it is important to focus even more strongly on all disposal processes and subject our waste management to a continuous improvement process. This aspiration is also enshrined in our environmental and energy policy and is based, among other things, on the waste hierarchy of the German Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act (KrWG). From the point of view of the waste producer and owner, this means in concrete terms: We assume responsibility for the environmentally compatible use of resources and define realistic targets for measures, in particular for the avoidance, reuse and recycling of recyclable materials as well as waste.

Five levels of the waste hierarchy according to the Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act (KrWG)

            Five levels of the waste hierarchy according to the  Closed Substance Cycle Waste Management Act (KrWG)

In this context, we have also set our sights on reducing waste-related transports. Since 2014, our environmental management system has been certified in accordance with DIN EN ISO 14001 at all German auto terminals and transport centers in our AUTOMOBILE Division as well as at 13 more contract logistics locations. This provides the framework for processes, responsibilities and, not least, the implementation of environmental protection requirements, including those relating to waste management. For 2021, we are reporting for the first time on the topics of resource conservation and waste management and will document our progress here in the coming years.

Targeted capture for more resource conservation

Our sites are responsible for the legally compliant separation, collection and disposal of recyclable materials and waste and to this end work with mostly certified waste management companies that specialize in recycling, energy recovery and waste disposal. In this context, protecting people and the environment has top priority. With waste management that is green and “clean” in the literal sense of the word, we can not only reduce negative impacts on the environment but also lower disposal costs. This also gives us the opportunity to pass on recycled materials to other market players, thus returning them to the materials and economic cycle. To meet the growing demands placed on us by our customers in this context we also need a standardized procedure and corresponding documentation.

A considerable proportion of the waste we generate results from our customers’ business activities – for example, when goods are delivered to us packaged and we have to dispose of the packaging accordingly. In some cases, the customer specifies and organizes the disposal channels. We then collect and separate according to their specifications and thus have little influence on waste management.

Where we are responsible ourselves, we now centrally and uniformly record all quantities and types of waste generated. In addition to the regulations of the German Commercial Waste Ordinance (GewAbfV), the basis for this is a management system module which our employees can access at any time and which explains the respective processes and responsibilities.

Within the organization, this topic area is the responsibility of the central Safety and Environmental Protection and Sustainability and Digitalization departments, which perform their function in close cooperation and coordination with the sites and with the quality management of our AUTOMOBILE and CONTRACT Divisions. They train their own environmental management coordinators at the sites, for example, who are responsible for capturing the data and are available as contact persons for the employees. Surveys in the reporting year showed that the topic is important to many employees: Their suggestions and wishes regarding sustainability in the company often relate to resource conservation in general or to waste management. Central recording of waste volumes at all German sites rolled out in the reporting year provides us with a basis for the central Sustainability and Digitalization department to prepare consolidated reports in the future. These, in turn, will determine the reporting parameters for this report and for the development of company-wide approaches to resource-saving measures.

We are constantly rethinking processes to make our business practices more climate-friendly. For example, by upgrading single-use packaging in the USA and bringing it back into circulation, we save 200 metric tons of waste a year.

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Best practices – recycling and reduction

Our objective is to further expand the continuous, company-wide dialog on the topics of resource conservation, waste and recycling and to share successful examples or projects with each other. After all, at many sites we are already proactive. Among other things, we recycle 60  metric tons of styrofoam in Emmerich every year, which reaches us in the form of protective packaging for printing systems that we process for one of our customers as part of so-called “pre-delivery installation”. Back in 2019, we already commissioned a styrofoam press, which presses the styrofoam after it has previously been shredded in a mill. This produces “styrofoam briquettes” that can be upcycled and put to a new use. Furthermore, without using the press, around 250 30-cubic-meter dumpsters would be generated for collection each year; thanks to a compaction volume of up to 98 percent, we have been able to reduce this to just three collections a year.

Compaction is also the name of the game at the BLG Industrielogistik Bremen site. During Completely Knocked Down (CKD) assembly for our automotive customer, wood waste in the form of pallets is generated, among other things. Since local conditions mean the waste containers can only be filled from above, the contents are distributed unevenly and large gaps are created – wasting space. A so-called roll packer – a roller lowered into the waste container – is used here to crush the pallets. Before its introduction, the average weight of a container when collected by the waste disposal company was one metric ton – now it is 3.5 metric tons. This has enabled us to reduce the number of transports from the location to the disposal site by two thirds.

Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals

More about BLG’s fields of action, SDGs and sustainability strategy.

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