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Effluents and waste

The primary physical waste products generated by the group are tyres, batteries, windscreens and used motor vehicle oil. The only significant source of effluent in the group is wash-bay runoff caused by washing transport fleets. Hazardous effluent may result from substances carried on behalf of customers, particularly in the tanker businesses of the logistics division.

Management and measurement

Imperial is committed to minimising waste at all operations through reduction, reuse and recycling, and the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources.

All our operations adhere to the relevant legal regulations concerning waste, and each operating division has procedures for dealing with its relevant waste streams. The type of waste generated differs greatly between divisions and within each division’s various businesses. All divisions have waste minimisation programmes in place, which include reuse and recycling initiatives, and there are management procedures in place for the handling, labelling, storage and treatment of waste streams.

While various businesses have historically measured waste streams and recycling, there has not been a standardised, centralised system to measure waste and effluent. The implementation of such a system has been identified as a key environmental goal for the year ahead.

We are able to report reliably on spillages in the logistics operations, as these are monitored in line with environmental regulations. We track the number of spillages, their quantity and the particular materials involved in each spillage. The most significant spillages come from the Logistics operations, where there were 115,43 kL spillages during the year.

In line with stringent and detailed procedures, all spills were immediately cleaned up and corrective action taken to minimise the environmental impact. Where the group did not have the required equipment available to fully rehabilitate the spill area, external services were used. Steps are also taken to prevent repeat incidents where possible through refresher training and sharing lessons learned.

We record any incident of an environmental nature, even as small as one litre of fuel spilt and are pleased to report that no significant environmental incidents occurred during the year. The incidents with an environmental impact all emanated from the logistics division. This division transports cargo on behalf of customers and although all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that cargo, hazardous or otherwise, is not spilt, accidents are an inherent and particular feature of road travel. Effective systems are in place to limit and, if possible, eliminate harmful effects resulting from spillages.

Effluent and waste management initiatives

We believe that recycling should be an integral part of the lifecycle of all materials, and our businesses are involved in a range of waste management and recycling initiatives. Print cartridges are recycled, in some instances by individuals who make a living from this form of recycling. Used lubrication oil, fluorescent tubes, vehicles, batteries, tyres and other waste generated by group operations are recycled or disposed of responsibly using approved and certified vendors.

Tyres are retreaded when safe to do so or, where this is no longer feasible, disposed of through recycling channels operated by tyre manufacturers or by third-party recycling organisations that dispose of tyres responsibly. Uses for waste tyres include agricultural and marine applications as well as the production of compounds used in asphalt.

Batteries are disposed of according to local regulations governing the disposal of lead and similar products.

Windscreens are disposed of through the windscreen supplier. The windscreen glass is often recycled by the manufacturer for new windscreens.

Used oil is sent to recycling agencies for treatment and further use. Waste oil is not dumped or released into municipal sewage systems.

A number of initiatives have been launched in the past year to recycle wash-bay runoff, limiting the amount of effluent generated and reducing the amount of water used.

Springbok Atlas has an on-going programme to reduce, reuse and recycle waste throughout its operations, from office administration to vehicle maintenance. It exchanges tyre casings with its supplier for recycling and reprocessing. The operation has an on-going project to install Euro III technology in the engines of its vehicles. To date 60% of fleet has now been fitted with these technologies and adheres to the 2000 European emission standards for vehicles. Due to the lack of availability of bio-fuels in South Africa, the Euro III standards are the highest that can be currently reached. However, as low sulphur fuel becomes more readily available in South Africa, the company will investigate Euro 5 standards.

In line with its environmental policy objectives, Europcar has implemented a number of ongoing recycling initiatives. The company recycles all office paper, and has eradicated paper rental vouchers. Some 80% of its invoices are sent electronically and technology is now used to enable a smaller-format rental contract that uses less paper. Tyres, used service oil and oil from washbay grease traps are disposed of by approved vendors. Consumer waste such as paper, tin, plastic and glass is separated at major depots and recycled by certified vendors.

Europcar’s lead sponsorship of the Green Office Week initiative in South Africa helped to create awareness of pressing environmental challenges, and provided the public with practical information about how to improve their waste management and lower their environmental impact.

We continue to investigate opportunities to use non-hazardous alternative materials in our operations, including hydrocarbons. We have installed sophisticated fuel management systems in our logistics operations that allow us to track fuel consumption and highlight inefficient driving techniques. We expect the system to help us improve our fuel efficiency by between 10% and 15%.

Looking forward

We are developing an integrated waste management plan in response to the National Environmental Management Waste Act 59 of 2008 (the Waste Act), to address the reduction of our waste, and investigate further waste prevention, reduction, reuse and recycling opportunities. The plan is expected to be finalised in 2013.

In the year ahead we will include waste measurement in our monthly non-financial reporting. Work has already begun on documenting our waste streams with a view to reducing waste at source. Any remaining waste will be treated so that it is non-hazardous, or disposed of in compliance with local regulations.

We have implemented a number of pilot wastepaper recycling projects at our various divisions, and engaged service providers to remove waste from some of our operations.

Our objective is to standardise, share and sustain best practices in waste management throughout the Imperial group, and identify training needs of personnel involved in waste management at our various operations.


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