Baxter has worked to minimize waste since establishing its first waste reduction goals in 1996. Initial efforts focused on decreasing potential risk and liability. Since the early 2000s, potential financial gains and process efficiency also have 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 when issues arise. Facilities also are implementing robust waste measurement at the point of generation, to rapidly identify significant sources. These and other activities reduce expenses related to raw materials, waste handling and disposal. Waste minimization also decreases 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 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 2013, Baxter's operations generated 65,330 metric tons of total waste, up 10% from 2005 in absolute terms and a 26% decrease indexed to revenue.

In absolute terms, total waste increased by 1% during 2013 compared with 2012. Baxter attributes this to the following:

  • Plasma collection continues to increase at the company’s BioLife Centers. Although the centers have implemented innovative projects to reduce waste generated per plasma donation, these efforts have not offset the overall increase due to business growth.
  • Some of Baxter’s larger manufacturing facilities in North America and other countries made changes to their manufacturing processes and product platforms. These types of changes typically increase waste generation temporarily during testing, implementation and optimization.
  • Baxter’s Los Angeles, California, United States, facility sent higher-than-normal quantities of alcohol waste off-site for disposal or recycling due to operational limitations associated with the facility’s alcohol recovery still.

Non-hazardous Waste Performance

During 2013, Baxter's operations generated 59,000 metric tons of non-hazardous waste, 7% more than in 2005 in absolute terms and a 28% decrease indexed to revenue.

Plastic scrap represents Baxter’s largest waste stream, comprising roughly one-third of the company’s non-hazardous waste. Baxter’s Corporate Environmental Engineering group continues working with 20 sites to facilitate the identification of improvement opportunities through a systematic approach using Lean and Six Sigma tools. Eight sites participating in the plastic scrap reduction program reduced plastic waste by 444 metric tons in 2013. See Case Study: Baxter Plastic Waste Reduction Program for more detail.

Significant waste reduction efforts during the year, both related to plastic and other materials, included the following:

  • Australia - The Toongabbie manufacturing facility worked on several initiatives to reduce non-hazardous waste. The site implemented projects that reduced plastic scrap by 28% or nearly 60 metric tons compared with 2012. The location also improved segregation of its non-hazardous materials for recycling. This increased awareness of waste generation within the facility, and contributed to an additional reduction of nearly 40 metric tons compared to 2012. Overall, the site reduced total waste generation by 22% compared with 2012.
  • United Kingdom – The Northampton distribution facility became a zero-waste-to-landfill site in October 2012. Building on this accomplishment, during 2013 the facility further improved waste sorting and increased employee awareness of waste generation at the site. As a result, the location reduced waste generation by 245 metric tons compared with the prior year, and diverted 43 metric tons of waste from landfill.

In 2013, Baxter also focused on reducing packaging material sent to customers. Sites in Cali, Colombia; Manesar and Waluj, India; Grosotto, Italy; Marsa, Malta; and Lublin, Poland, implemented initiatives to decrease the use of packaging materials such as cardboard and plastic, saving about 200 metric tons. See Packaging for details.

Regulated Waste Performance1

Baxter generated 6,330 metric tons of regulated waste in 2013, 51% more than in 2005 in absolute terms and a 1% increase indexed to revenue. This represented about 10% of the total waste Baxter generated during the year. Regulated waste increased by 15% on an absolute basis compared to 2012, principally due to increased activity in Baxter-operated plasma collection centers and operational limitations associated with an alcohol recovery still at the company’s facility in Los Angeles, California, United States. The rise in demand for plasma units donated at Baxter collection centers represents an ongoing waste generation challenge. To address this issue, the centers are investigating ways to reduce regulated waste produced as part of the plasma donation process.

The Baxter site in Bielefeld, Germany, implemented a project to better manage solvents used in the manufacturing process. As an alternative to incineration, the facility is recycling used solvents for other applications. This project contributed to a decrease in regulated waste at the site of approximately 35 metric tons compared with 2012.


Baxter has steadily increased its recycling rate since 2007. Of the 59,000 metric tons of non-hazardous waste generated in 2013, Baxter recycled approximately 41,000 metric tons, or 70%. Baxter also recycled 2,340 metric tons of regulated waste in 2013, for an overall recycling rate of 66%.2

Recycling activities at Baxter generated nearly $7.2 million in revenue in 2013. Although some recycled waste streams do not generate revenue, in those cases recycling typically still costs less than disposal. Recycling revenue in 2013 increased by 10% compared with 2012 due to a slight increase in prices paid for some recycled plastic materials.

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 increased in 2013 compared to 2012 primarily due to several facility expansion projects during the year. 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)
2011 2012 2013
Regulated Total Non-
Regulated Total Non-
Regulated Total
Construction and Demolition Debris 14,000 0 14,000 1,200 0 1,200 2,500 0 2,500
Remediation Waste 0 3,810 3,810 0 140 140 0 2,170 2,170
Wastewater Treatment Sludge 1,900 100 2,000 2,300 100 2,400 2,200 240 2,440
Total 15,900 3,910 19,810 3,500 240 3,740 4,700 2,410 7,110

1 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. 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.
2 Incineration with energy recovery is considered recycling.

Sustainability Priority Addressed on this Page

Baxter Will Drive Reductions in its Natural Resource Use