Why it matters

Reducing and effectively managing waste from our operations promotes efficient resource use, helps minimize our environmental impact, and reduces regulatory and reputational risks.

Potash tailings and phosphogypsum make up the vast majority of Nutrien’s waste profile. Transparent, safe and responsible management of mining byproducts is essential for protecting the environment and maintaining trust with our employees, communities and other stakeholders.

Our work on waste, tailings, and more supports the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals


Our actions

For non-hazardous waste, Nutrien’s Global Waste Minimization Standard outlines waste management requirements for all operating segments and locations. For hazardous waste, Nutrien works with third-party waste management suppliers to verify these materials are transported, treated, and recycled or disposed according to applicable regulatory requirements.

Reducing plastic waste across our global locations

Nutrien is progressing our global waste management strategy for plastic containers, our retail operating segment’s largest category of nonhazardous waste. While plastic is an ideal packaging material for our crop protection and seed products – it does not react with our products and is lightweight and cost-effective – we strive to use this resource as efficiently as possible and to reuse or recycle it.

Potash tailings management

Tailings management areas (“TMAs”) are engineered containment facilities to store solid tailings and brine. Containment typically consists of engineered dykes, engineered slurry-walls or compacted earth trench barriers. Nutrien’s internal Tailings Management Standard defines Nutrien’s minimum requirements for tailings and brine management within TMAs in the Potash operating segment.

Phosphogypsum management

To maintain the stability of gypstacks, they are constructed, operated and closed in accordance with applicable engineering best practices and regulatory requirements. As part of the requirements to operate gypstack systems, we conduct routine groundwater monitoring and inspections, and maintain and comply with applicable environmental permits such as air, solid waste and water discharge.  At closure, long-term management plans for gypstacks are implemented per regulatory requirements, including completion of groundwater monitoring and reporting.

Reclamation and remediation

We aim to reduce our impacts on the environment during the full lifecycle of our mines and facilities. We work with environmental authorities to verify that land is properly restored post-mining, using local and native plant varieties to support biodiversity.

  • Remediation refers to the removal, treatment and/ or containment of impacts to soil or groundwater.
  • Gypstack closure: Closure of gypstacks generally includes construction (including stack contour and sloping), capping, and adding a vegetative cover; treating wastewater and managing storm water; and long-term care and groundwater monitoring.

Phosphate mine reclamation: As part of current reclamation practices, the material that is removed from the upper layers of the mine (overburden) is backfilled. We seek to preserve surface water quality through proper phosphate mine reclamation, including installation of low permeability cover systems as necessary on overburden materials. For example, since the late 1970s, we have reclaimed nearly 30,000 acres of mined land and restored 10,000 acres of off-site wetlands at both mine sites, planting approximately 30 million trees. Learn more


Air Emissions

Nutrien continues to look for opportunities to reduce emissions through continuous improvement in plant reliability and changes in operation or physical emission control upgrades during plant expansions and modifications.

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