Brenntag works continuously on minimizing the environmental impacts of its business activities on the soil, water and air. Our HSE strategy and various measures such as investments in the infrastructure, optimized work procedures and employee qualifications are implemented with a view to identifying environmental risks early on and to avoid environmentally related incidents.
Brenntag’s sites in all of its regions comply with the applicable rules and regulations relating to the protection of the environment as well as our Group’s stringent internal environmental and safety standards.
All of Brenntag’s sites implement suitable environmental protection measures that vary in their form and extent, depending on the work performed at the site, the legal requirements in the country and the site’s construction history. Basic measures include multilayer soil protection in warehousing areas, double-walled tanks and collection tanks, closed water cycles, multistage water purification and treatment processes, and modern air and exhaust airpurification systems.
In the rare event that chemicals are released during processing, when being filled in or transferred between containers or during transportation, Brenntag takes the appropriate steps to rectify the problem, clean up and dispose of the chemicals as quickly as possible. Such spillages are recorded, categorized and evaluated using a standardized system.
Further information and measures
Chemicals have to be properly packaged. Standard container formats have become established in the industry in order to ensure safe transportation and storage. In our industry, for example, we use metal or plastic barrels, portable canisters or intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) – large plastic or steel tanks with a metal frame.
The fact is that the majority of these containers are reusable. In cooperation with our suppliers and customers, we are making every effort to establish a circular economy so that we can keep using and reusing our packaging materials.
At Brenntag, we have established suitable processes for the handling of waste and also take-back and recycling systems for various types of packaging and containers. With our expertise and logistics infrastructure, we are able to reuse IBCs without having to clean them first – provided that they are always refilled with the same chemical (“product-dedicated container”).
For example, at our Zwijndrecht site in the Netherlands, we have set up a closed cycle with several control points for IBCs that are dedicated to only contain the same acids or alkalis. The result: these IBCs can be reused over a period of several years. Not only does this significantly reduce the amount of packaging material but also decreases the amount of cleaning required, thereby lowering water consumption and the volume of wastewater.
Furthermore, we use recycled packaging: In our EMEA region, we target to reach 28,500 “RECOBULK” IBCs made by Schütz to be put in circulation each year. Since summer 2018, we have introduced approximately 8,000 units in the market. They are characterised by a lower carbon footprint because they feature a reused, reconditioned steel cage. By using the target volume, Brenntag will save over 2,400 tonnes of CO2 per year compared to standard IBCs, which are equipped with a new steel cage.
Many Brenntag companies use telematics systems in order to optimize the use of their vehicle fleets. On-board computers log data including driving times and durations, the number of stops, the maximum speed, the kilometers driven and fuel consumption. This information is transmitted back to the depot and is usually also linked to upstream and downstream business management software systems, allowing details of the goods transported and information about the individual drivers, their trips and the vehicles to be compiled, tracked and analyzed.
Another advantage of these on-board units is that they directly foster safe and environmentally efficient driving in which our drivers are trained on a regular basis. Visual and acoustic signals warn the driver when the permitted driving time has been reached. Vehicle handling in terms of driving speed, engine speed, acceleration, braking and engine idling is also visualized.
Brenntag markets solid and liquid chemicals. The packaging used depends on the product type and the quantity supplied. The typical means of transport and packaging types are tankers and trucks, sacks, and various metal and plastic containers.
The majority of these are reusable forms of packaging which are used safely by Brenntag and its customers for many years. Agreements have been made with the manufacturers and third-party service providers for the used units to be returned and professionally cleaned and, if necessary, for damage to be remedied. There is therefore a great amount of reconditioned units in circulation at Brenntag, and as such we take a leading role in the industry. The large proportion of reusable packaging and reconditioned units within our company contributes to reducing the resources used to manufacture new packaging and reducing waste overall.
In addition, Brenntag frequently uses product-dedicated containers, i. e. they are only ever refilled with the same product. This is the case with, for example, the IBC (intermediate bulk container) units made of steel, which are usually used to hold flammable solvents. Product-dedicated refilling dispenses with the need to clean the units, thereby saving water and other cleaning agents, and thus reducing the impact on the environment.