Circular Economy and Waste
We are reducing waste and applying the principles of a circular economy across our businesses and supply chains. This means placing value on reusing resources by moving from a linear system to one where materials are reused, repurposed and recycled, helping to reduce pressure on the world’s resources. Reducing waste and the efficient use of resources are key to UN Sustainability Development Goal 12, which focuses on responsible production and consumption.
Our ambition and commitments
Our ambition is to use resources and materials efficiently and to increase reuse and recycling.
Our Respecting Nature commitments
We are aiming for zero waste1 by reducing waste generated and increasing reuse and recycling in our businesses and supply chains. We will set goals for waste reduction, reuse and recycling by the end of 2022.
We will work with our suppliers and contractors to help end plastic waste in the environment:
- By 2030, we will increase the amount of recycled plastic in our packaging to 30% and ensure that the packaging we use for our products is reusable or recyclable.
- We will increase the amount of recycled materials used to make our products, starting with plastics. Our ambition is to use one million tonnes of plastic waste a year in our global chemicals plants by 2025.
Our approach to circular economy and waste
Increasing circularity means moving away from a linear (take-make-dispose) economy, to one where products and materials are reused, repurposed and recycled. This reduction in consumption of raw or virgin material not only reduces waste, but can also reduce the need to extract and process additional raw materials.
As well as being the right thing for a responsible business to do, we believe a focus on circular economy and waste can bring opportunities to create new business models, drive innovation and respond to customer expectations.
Our businesses are conducting internal reviews with external experts to look at the waste we generate and we have engaged with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to help us with tools and metrics to measure progress and performance on circularity going forward. Following the completion of five pilots in 2021, we are now completing assessments to help us set specific, measurable goals for circular economy and waste management by end 2022.
In addition, when facilities associated with oil and gas production reach the end of their economic and productive life, we make sure that they are safely and properly shut down. This is called “decommissioning and restoration”. At Shell, we currently have decommissioning activities under way in Brunei, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA where we seek to reuse, repurpose and to maximise recycling of materials.
Working together with our supply chain is vital to help our businesses progress towards our aim for zero waste and to help end plastic waste in the environment. Our Respecting Nature goal has a specific commitment to include requirements in our purchasing policies to reflect our environmental framework, and take the energy efficiency, material efficiency and sustainability of products into consideration in our purchases.
We are identifying opportunities and developing our plans in this area in 2022 and we will report our progress in our future Sustainability Reports.
We are already starting to take a more efficient approach to waste and how we dispose of it, for example:
Our service stations
Our Mobility business has an ambition for all of our company-owned Shell service stations to reduce, reuse and repurpose waste by 2025. This means eliminating unnecessary single-use plastic from shops and encouraging re-use. It also means moving to widely recyclable or reusable packaging for all Shell-branded products, managing site waste and making it easier customers to recycle. Read more about our Mobility business.
Tackling Plastic Waste
We have an ambition to use 1 million tonnes of plastic waste a year in our global chemical plants by 2025. Using a technique called pyrolysis, we use plastic waste to produce chemicals, which can be used to make plastics again. We want to expand the use of this technology at our chemical plants in North America, Europe and Asia. Shell Lubricants, our business that makes and sells engine and industrial oils, is reducing, reusing and recycling packaging across its supply chains and exploring different and more sustainable packaging options. Shell is a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. This not-for-profit organisation has committed $1.5 billion over five years to help end plastic waste in the environment. Read more about our approach to plastic waste.
Reducing waste at our buildings
We are also reducing waste generated at our buildings around the world. For example, our facilities in Australia have been running a number of waste improvement projects aimed at reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and providing benefits to local communities. Read more in our Sustainability Report.
Embracing circularity for road surfaces
Shell has developed a low-temperature bitumen solution that will reduce waste. By using waste plastic that has been converted into a bitumen additive, Shell Bitumen LT R saves on the use of virgin materials and embraces circular thinking. As well as helping meet targets on reducing landfill waste and incineration, the surface itself can be recycled at the end of its life. Find out more about Shell Low Temp (LT) Solutions.
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