environmental: securing responsible resource consumption

environmental sustainability

how we ensure

we consume

resources in a

responsible way

environmental sustainability

Environmental Case Study

30 November 2016

Using resources responsibly: minimising waste in China and the UK

Using resources responsibly: minimising waste in China and the UK


Responsible and efficient use of resources is central to AB Sugar’s environmental priorities. Minimising process inputs and reducing waste are key areas of focus across its businesses. 

What we did

AB Sugar’s sugar operations operate an advanced manufacturing model that avoids waste by turning process outputs into inputs for a wide range of products.  Our products include electricity, renewable fuels, animal feeds, aggregates and fertilisers. 

For example, our sugar beet operations work closely with farmers to minimise the amount of soil and stones received with the deliveries of beet. Any materials not recovered on farm are cleaned from the beet during the initial processing of the crop at the sugar manufacturing site. These are then recovered and conditioned to high quality products before use in construction and landscaping.

Within our advanced manufacturing model, our sugar operations continue to drive improvements in waste recycling.

In the UK, implementation of site-based waste recycling and reduction initiatives, such as waste segregation, had driven waste recycling rates up to 74% beyond which it was proving difficult to increase. To improve performance, British Sugar partnered with a new waste management company to target zero non-hazardous waste to landfill.

Our sugar operations in China have increased the segregation and management of their different waste streams over the last two years. This has allowed the sites to identify suitable waste contractors to provide a range of treatment, recycling and re-use opportunities.


British Sugar’s partnership approach, now in its second year, has increased the waste recycling rate to 98% of all waste generated – equivalent to only 162 grams of waste disposal for each tonne of sugar made.

In China, despite challenges with costs and limitations to the waste infrastructure in their remote locations, the sites recycled nearly 50% of their waste in 2016. Beyond clear benefits to the environment, the drive to increase recycling rates has had a positive impact on the local economy, creating job opportunities in remote locations and demonstrating a responsible approach to the management of resources. 

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