Waste and water use
We strive to reduce our waste to landfill and water use where possible.
Reducing waste creates environmental and business benefits for our divisions. We work to diverting waste to recycling throughout the product life cycle. Water use is significant for our industrial businesses and they work to reduce its use or find more sustainable water sources where possible.
Recycling and waste
Despite our efforts to reduce our waste, this year our waste to landfill has increased slightly to 136,093 tonnes and our recycled waste has increased by eight per cent to 303,319 tonnes.
We also have significant liquid waste at Coles and WesCEF. At Coles, liquid waste was 28,571 kilolitres which comprised of fat from cooking areas. Liquid waste is collected in grease traps before it enters the water system where it would otherwise clog up pipes on the way to the treatment facility. At WesCEF liquid waste includes 39,135 kilolitres of contaminated water from its industrial sites.
The increase in waste disposed was largely driven by an increase at Bunnings due to the growth of its business operations and improved data calculation methodologies at Kmart Tyre and Auto allowing us greater visibility of waste to landfill.
We continued to undertake waste reduction initiatives throughout the Group. Bunnings continued its timber pallet reuse and recycling program using the backload capacity of vehicles and conducted a trial to backhaul plastic strapping.
Coles' food donations via Foodbank and SecondBite increased by 14 per cent during the year, to more than 5,200 tonnes. Coles also expanded donations to SecondBite to include frozen meat at more than 200 stores. Approximately 278 tonnes of plastic (including plastic bags and product packaging) was returned to Coles supermarkets by customers for recycling via the REDcycle program.
Changes to how products are packaged can reduce the downstream waste associated with our businesses. Wesfarmers is a signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant (APC), which is a voluntary packaging waste reduction and recycling initiative between governments, the packaging industry, retailers and consumer brand owners.
Wesfarmers reports annually on its packaging initiatives and progress to the APC. Our 2015 report is available here.
Managing water use
This year, our recorded water use was 15,450 megalitres. To better focus sustainability efforts on each division's material issues, Target, Kmart, Wesfarmers Industrial and Safety and Officeworks are no longer required to record water use, as it is not a material issue for them. Across the remaining divisions, this year’s figure represents an 6 per cent reduction on last year’s water use.
Resources, our largest water user, achieved a 13 per cent reduction in water use this year. This was achieved through a number of measures, including awareness campaigns about water use in the plant, more regular reporting to increase the visibility of water management and more accurate municipal water metering at Curragh.
Some of our businesses are actively managing contaminated sites. Wesfarmers is involved in the remediation of a small number of contaminated sites that were owned or leased by former Wesfarmers businesses that have ceased operations from the sites. Wesfarmers continues to undertake ongoing monitoring and reporting obligations on the sites and in most cases active remediation activities have been completed. CSBP (in our Chemicals, Energy and Fertiliser business) continues to monitor groundwater and comply with the statutory audit process in relation to a former fertiliser site at Bayswater in Western Australia.
Other environmental reporting
Carbon Disclosure Project
Wesfarmers participated in the Carbon Disclosure Project's (CDP) Carbon Survey and Forests Survey again this year. Wesfarmers’ responses to these surveys are available on the CDP website.
National Pollutant Inventory
Two of our businesses, WesCEF and Resources, are required to report under the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI). Full details are available on the NPI website, with 2013/14 data available for Kleenheat Gas Pty Ltd, Wesfarmers LPG Pty Ltd, CSBP Limited and Curragh Queensland Mining.
Potential environmental non-conformances
From time to time, an environmental licence condition is either breached or not fully met. When these incidents occur, the relevant business takes immediate action to mitigate any damage and notifies the government agency in accordance with requirements. No recorded events this year resulted in any material environmental harm, injury, prosecution or fine. Please see our WesCEF website for details of their potential environmental non-conformances.
GRI Reference: G4-DMA (Water), G4-DMA (Product and Services), G4-DMA (Environmental grievance mechanisms), G4-EN8, G4-EN23, G4-EN27