Waste Management & Recycling

Waste Management

Waste is a by-product of the aluminium production process and is generated at all stages of the value chain. Our waste management approach focuses on the mitigation hierarchy by finding ways to avoid, minimise and recycle our waste rather then sending it to landfill.

A major part of Hydro’s total waste production is related to our mining and refining activity. The mined bauxite is washed before further processing, which generates tailings that are stored in dedicated tailing dams at our mining operation. Bauxite residue, also known as red mud, is a by-product of the alumina refining process. This is washed, dewatered and stored in dedicated bauxite residue storage areas.

Our cardboard packaging uses raw materials from FSC sources and is a supplier requirement.

Waste produced, and Waste sent to landfill (excluding aluminium)

Hydro’s ambition is to reduce landfilling of total waste – excluding tailings and bauxite residue by 60 within 2020 from our 2010 baseline. Our targets are:

  • 60% reduction in waste-to-landfill by 2020 (2010 baseline)
  • Recycle > 250,000 tonnes/year of post-consumer scrap by 2020

We’re committed to reducing the amount of waste that we send to landfill and engage with staff on ways we can reduce our waste output.



Our waste from our Tewkesbury site is sent for recycling to Smiths Waste Management. This is sorted using specialist machinery using the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle methodology, and achieves a 91% recycle rate. For the year ending December 2018, 98.6 tonnes of waste was produced at the Tewkesbury site, of which 9.58 (9.7%) tonnes went to landfill.

From January 2019, Smiths Waste Management became zero-to-landfill. All waste collected by Smiths Waste Management is sorted for recycling, with any non-recyclable products being used to produce electricity and then into recycled building materials. Air produced from this process is cleaned using a sophisticated air-pollution control system (APC) before being released to the atmosphere.


The waste collected from our Wakefield site is managed by Veolia. Waste is separated as much as possible, before being taken away and processed. Veolia has invested a nation-wide infrastructure to support their recycling, collection treatment, recovery and disposal activities. This includes facilities to increase recycling and recovery rates for the site, composting of organic waste for reuse, production of energy from waste, treatment, recovery, and reuse of potentially hazardous materials whilst disposing of sensitive paperwork safely. Veolia is a carbon positive company, saving their customer base 2 million tonnes in carbon emissions, and produce 220,000 tonnes of compost over 12 sites.

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