Sustainability Priority Addressed on this Page

Baxter Will Drive Reductions in its Natural Resource Use


Baxter has prioritized minimizing waste since establishing its first waste reduction goals in 1996. Early waste reduction efforts focused on decreasing potential risk and liability. Since the early 2000's, potential financial gains and process efficiency have also motivated the company’s efforts in this area.

Baxter tracks and analyzes waste data from each major facility to assess progress toward waste-reduction goals and identify opportunities to improve the efficiency of processes that generate waste. The company’s environmental, health and safety (EHS) information management system captures waste performance data monthly, allowing quick reaction time when issues arise. Facilities also are implementing robust means of measuring waste at the point of generation, to rapidly identify significant sources. These and other waste reduction activities reduce expenses related to raw materials, waste handling and disposal. Waste minimization also reduces environmental impacts associated with raw materials extraction and refining.

Baxter sites generate different types of waste, so the company’s total waste goals combine non-hazardous and regulated waste to encourage each site to focus on the type of waste most relevant to its operations. Baxter has committed to reduce waste generation by 30% indexed to revenue by 2015, compared to 2005. The company identifies leading opportunities to decrease waste based on the highest volume waste streams, facilities that produce the most waste, sites with particularly strong potential to improve, and other factors.

Total Waste Performance

During 2012, Baxter's operations generated 63,430 metric tons of total waste, up 11% from 2005 in absolute terms and a 23% decrease indexed to revenue.

In absolute terms, total waste decreased by 13% during 2012 compared to 2011. Baxter attributes this decrease to the following:

  • Europe, Middle East and Africa – A product recall in the region resulted in approximately 9,400 metric tons of total waste in 2011, 13% of the global total. Excluding this waste, Baxter’s waste generation was essentially the same in 2011 as in 2012.
  • United States – Although plasma collection has increased at BioLife Centers, the company implemented two projects that helped reduce waste. The recycled sharps container program across BioLife kept 15 metric tons of plastic and 0.5 metric tons of cardboard out of landfills. This initiative saved more than $40,000 by avoiding purchase of new plastic sharps containers. The centers also are working with a supplier to return used “mini-trays” (packing material for collection set tubing).

Non-hazardous Waste Performance

During 2012, Baxter's operations generated 58,000 metric tons of non-hazardous waste, 9% more than in 2005 in absolute terms and a 24% decrease indexed to revenue.

Plastic scrap represents one of Baxter’s largest waste streams, representing roughly one-third of the company’s non-hazardous waste. Baxter’s Corporate Environmental Engineering group started an initiative in 2010 to identify opportunities to reduce plastic waste generation at the source through a systematic approach that emphasizes continual improvement and draws on Lean and Six Sigma tools. The company continues to benefit from these efforts. Nineteen facilities participating in the plastic scrap reduction initiative reduced plastic waste by more than 700 metric tons during 2012. Examples include:

  • Australia - The Toongabbie facility designed a mechanism to recover plastic scrap in one of its production processes that is expected to save the company more than $60,000 and 36 metric tons of plastic per year.
  • Costa Rica – The Cartago site continues to reduce plastic use due to enhanced process controls in the manufacturing process. The site reduced plastic scrap waste by 17% per unit of production in 2012 compared to the prior year, equivalent to 134 metric tons.
  • India – The Manesar facility implemented projects that reduced plastic scrap by 44% per unit of production in 2012, or approximately 210 metric tons, compared to 2011. Projects in 2012 included modifying the 3L drain renal bag to a 2.5L bag, decreasing the weight of each bag by 0.4 grams. The site also reduced the thickness of the 2L solution bag and 3L drain bag by 0.01mm. The facility continues to focus on scrap reduction as well, and improved the rate from 2.5% to 1.5% of total plastic use in 2012 after addressing main sources of rejects and improving the changeover process in extrusion lines.
  • Singapore – The Singapore site improved efficiency in manufacturing, including projects aimed at reducing changeover, start-up and set-up time in extrusion operations, steps that are the main sources of plastic scrap in extrusion operations. These enhancements reduced plastic scrap by 12% per unit of production compared to 2011, equal to 138 metric tons.

Other facilities also have reduced waste by focusing on manufacturing efficiency. During 2012, Baxter’s Lessines, Belgium; San Vittore, Switzerland; Aibonito, Puerto Rico; Suzhou, China; and Alliston, Canada, facilities implemented projects that reduced plastic waste by 764 metric tons total compared to the prior year.

A procedure at Moncelice, Italy, promotes materials reuse and proper segregation of all waste from the workshop. One project used discarded poles to build a table with a chute that moves empty trolleys for a product. This project not only reduced waste, but also provided additional benefits, including improved ergonomic handling.

In 2012, Baxter also focused on reducing packaging waste. Sites in Cali, Colombia; Kista, Sweden; Marsa, Malta; and Mountain Home, Arkansas, United States, implemented initiatives to decrease use of packaging materials such as cardboard, paper, plastic, and Styrofoam, saving 50 metric tons. See Packaging for details.

Baxter has steadily increased its recycling rate since 2007. Of the 58,000 metric tons of non-hazardous waste generated in 2012, Baxter recycled approximately 40,000 metric tons, or 69%. Baxter also recycled 1,600 metric tons of regulated waste in 2012, for an overall recycling rate of 66%.1

Recycling activities at Baxter generated nearly $6.6 million in revenue in 2012. Although some recycled waste streams do not generate revenue, even in those cases recycling typically costs less than disposal. Recycling revenue in 2012 increased by more than 30% compared to 2011 due to higher prices paid for recycled materials such as plastics, metals and corrugated and fewer expenses associated with recycling of finished product.

Regulated Waste Performance2

Regulated waste represented about 9% of the total waste Baxter generated in 2012.

Baxter generated 5,430 metric tons of regulated waste in 2012, 32% more than in 2005 in absolute terms and a 8% decrease indexed to revenue. The company decreased regulated waste by 7% on an absolute basis compared to 2011, principally due to a project at the Los Angeles facility that turned 600 tons of plasma production by-products into electricity, through the use of an anaerobic digester. See Case Study: Baxter's Los Angeles, California, United States, Facility Turns Production Waste into Electricity.

Since 2010, Baxter’s Guayama, Puerto Rico, facility has pursued improvements to a manufacturing distillation process to reduce the amount of waste associated with this process. The improvement allows wastewater generated from the process to be treated in the facility’s wastewater pretreatment system rather than hauling it off-site for disposal. Additionally, the concentrated organic stream generated during the distillation process is now reused, reducing approximately 45 cubic meters of liquid waste annually. Following an analysis of regulated waste streams in 2012, the site also was able to reclassify some waste as nonhazardous and to treat other waste streams in the facility’s wastewater pretreatment plant. For example, the use of more compatible metal alloys in process tanks and equipment has reduced metal levels in process wastewater, allowing the site to pretreat wastewater internally. Overall, these efforts helped reduce regulated waste by 25% in 2012 compared to the prior year, equivalent to 99 metric tons.

The Baxter site in Grosotto, Italy, installed an acetic acid storage tank and automatic distribution system, eliminating the use of small single-use containers of acetic acid and decreasing regulated waste by about 15 metric tons per year compared to 2011.

Additional Waste Streams

To more closely reflect production efficiency, Baxter excludes certain non-routine, non production-related waste streams from its total waste performance data and progress against its 2015 waste goal. The company reports these waste streams in the following table, which allows for more consistent evaluation of facility performance and trends.

Construction and demolition debris waste decreased in 2012 compared to 2011 primarily due to the completion of several large expansion projects in 2011. The data also reflect improvements in the tracking and reporting of these waste streams.

Non-production Waste Streams Not Included in Total Waste Performance (metric tons)
2010 2011 2012
Regulated Total Non-
Regulated Total Non-
Regulated Total
Construction and Demolition Debris 6,100 0 6,100 14,000 0 14,000 1,200 0 1,200
Remediation Waste 0 10 10 0 3,810 3,810 0 140 140
Wastewater Treatment Sludge 1,400 10 1,410 1,900 100 2,000 2,300 100 2,400
Total 7,500 20 7,520 15,900 3,910 19,810 3,500 240 3,740

1 Incineration with energy recovery is considered recycling.
2 Baxter reports “regulated waste” rather than “hazardous waste.” This term includes a broader array of materials that would otherwise be classified as non-hazardous in some countries, which helps Baxter harmonize its waste reporting across locations with varying waste regulations. In addition to wastes typically considered hazardous (such as toxics and corrosives), the company also includes oils, biohazardous or infectious materials, batteries, fluorescent lamps, asbestos and other materials that may not be defined as hazardous waste by national legislation at the point of origin.