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We're committed to reducing and reusing whatever we can – and eliminating waste to landfill.

Our approach

As with any product, making alcoholic beverages generates waste at every stage of the product lifecycle. Where possible we want to reduce the materials we use, and then we work to make the best use of the waste we can’t avoid. Above all, we want to ensure that nothing is simply thrown away. Landfills are more than just an eyesore: they cause the contamination of ground- and surface-water; they emit the greenhouse gas methane; they take up land that could be used more beneficially; and they have negative impacts on biodiversity.

We're committed to eliminating waste to landfill entirely from our operations by 2015 through a variety of measures:


Eliminating waste sent to landfill from our operations entirely by 2015 remains a challenging target. But, after a setback in 2011, we are back on track, with a reduction of 20.5% this year and an overall reduction of 56.8% against a 2007 baseline.

This amounted to 94.8% of our total waste being reused or recycled in 2012. In terms of hazardous waste, 0.9% was disposed of to landfill or recycled.

Total weight of waste by type and disposal in 2012 (tonnes)
Region Total waste reused or recycled Total waste to landfill Total waste
North America 22,322 16,549 38,871
Europe 371,692 181 371,873
Africa 197,327 18,360 215,687
Latin America and Caribbean 11,973 925 12,898
Asia Pacific 58,510 5 58,514
Corporate 799 178 977
Diageo (total) 662,622 36,199 698,821
Waste to landfill (tonnes)

Total waste to landfill by year (tonnes)


Total waste to landfill by year, by region (tonnes)

Region 2007 2010 2011 2012
North America 40,828 40,494 20,517 16,549
Europe 3,627 1,107 579 181
Africa 33,492 14,068 21,790 18,360
Latin America and Caribbean 4,694 1,648 686 925
Asia Pacific 588 89 1 5
Corporate 571 567 1,967 178
Diageo (total) 83,801 57,973 45,540 36,199
Hazardous waste, reused, recycled and sent to landfill in 2012 (tonnes)
Region Hazardous waste
reused or recycled
Hazardous waste
to landfill
North America 79 1
Europe 226 54
Africa 5 16
Latin America and Caribbean 7,697 -
Asia Pacific 0 0
Corporate - -
Diageo (total) 8,008 71

Because waste is generally a localised issue, the way that we improve our waste-handling varies significantly from site to site, and region to region. But globally, we are encouraging increased awareness and better practices, which, combined with a willingness to make the best use of available local infrastructure, are helping us meet our target.

We are proud of the fact that 16 of our sites in Scotland, for example, sent zero waste to landfill this year – taking the number of sites in this category to 24 globally. We have also made significant reductions of waste to landfill across our brewing operations in in Africa. In particular, waste to landfill has been halved at our operations in Aba and Benin City in Nigeria, with considerable progress at other locations throughout the region.

Below are some of the ways in which we have worked towards our target.

Reducing materials

The primary way that we can reduce the amount of waste going to landfill is reducing the materials we use in the first place. For example, at our brewery in Ogba, Nigeria, we eliminated waste kieselguhr by using an alternative filtration system.

Finding agricultural uses for waste

Some material previously sent to landfill can be put to good use by farmers. At our Aba brewing facility in Nigeria, a project to make spent grains and yeast available to farmers reduced waste to landfill from this site by over 50% in 2012.

At our maltings facility in Kenya, we have begun composting wet grain waste within the site, which has reduced waste to landfill by 32 tonnes.

Recycling packaging and other materials

We seek to ensure that as much material as possible is recycled. At our Tusker brewery in Kenya, initiatives including training for technical operators and contractors in waste segregation, and the recycling of polyethylene bags and cartons from the packaging department, have contributed to a reduction of waste to landfill of 15%. And at our Isipingo blending and packaging site in South Africa, 13 tonnes have been diverted from landfill by recycling paper and packaging straps.

Recovering waste for energy

Where materials cannot be recycled, as a last resort we explore their potential for energy recovery through incineration. In some areas, we didn’t send any waste for use as energy, but where this is the only feasible option, we work with trusted partners using advanced technology to minimise the impact of converting waste to energy.

Types of waste

Our operations generate both hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

The majority of our waste is non-hazardous and this includes: organic matter, like yeast, remaining from the brewing and distillation processes; kieselguhr, which is a soft rock used for filtration; and the pulped labels from the bottles which we recycle. Other waste streams include damaged packaging, sludge from wastewater treatment, boiler ash, and office waste.

Hazardous wastes, including oils, acids, and bases, are used subject to government regulations and environmental consents, and are disposed of through specialist contractors. Last year, a total of 71 tonnes of hazardous waste from 14 sites went to landfill – a figure we are seeking to reduce.

We are exploring ways to reuse or recycle all of our waste streams – often in ways that bring benefits to our business, the environment, or local communities.

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