Why it matters
Nutrien is committed to an overall reduction of our environmental footprint by creating and implementing stewardship systems across our sites, operations and communities.
Our work on waste, tailings, and more supports the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
We manage our hazardous waste responsibly and look for opportunities to reuse or recycle our non-hazardous waste. Since mining activities can generate large volumes of byproducts and waste, we pay special attention to the management of our potash and phosphate operations
Managing waste from our operations in a way that minimizes the impact on the surrounding environment reduces costs along with regulatory and reputational risk. We are committed to an overall reduction of our environmental impact by creating and implementing stewardship systems across our operations and communities.
Our Global Waste Minimization Standard communicates non-mining waste management requirements for all Nutrien business units and locations. Each site must conduct a biennial non-mining waste review and use it to develop a site-specific waste minimization strategy, considering, in order of preference, reduction, reuse and recycling of materials.
Since mining activities can generate large volumes of byproducts and waste, we pay special attention to the management of our Potash and Phosphate operations. Our tailings piles comply with applicable laws, regulations and environmental standards.
At the end of 2021, all of our North American manufacturing, retail and corporate sites have completed their initial waste reviews as required by the Global Waste Minimization Standard and have implemented strategies best suited to reducing waste at their locations. The plastic recycling strategy for our Retail operations is in development.
Approximately 95 percent of the waste we produce is nonhazardous.
Tailings and byproducts
Since mining activities can generate large volumes of byproducts and waste, we pay special attention to the management of our potash and phosphate operations. Our tailings piles are in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and environmental standards.
Packaging and plastic waste
Plastic is an ideal material for packaging our crop protection and seed products because it is inert (it doesn’t react with our products), lightweight and cost effective. Recycling plastic waste is a focus for our Retail business, and we commit to setting a target in 2022. We understand the growing global concern with single-use plastics and are exploring ways to either reduce plastic packaging or increase its reuse and recycling.
Nutrien is a member of the Ag Containers Recycling Council (“ACRC”) with the purpose of increasing recycling of agrichemical plastics and to support the responsible end of life management of industry containers. The ACRC has recycling programs with thousands of farmer and applicator participants nationwide.
100 percent of our Retail locations participate in a plastic recycling program. We ship our crop protection and plant nutrition proprietary brands using large returnable containers. We own reusable drums and participate in a drum leasing program to further minimize the total number of product containers in circulation across the country. We also participate in an industry program that collects small pack drums for plastics recycling, and will be participating in a newly launched program for recycling of plastic bag waste.
80 percent of our Retail locations participated in an industry-wide program called Cleanfarms that collects a variety of used agricultural packaging. In 2021, Nutrien participated in a new Cleanfarms pilot collection program for seed, pesticide and inoculant bags to use this material for energy recovery.
Our operations generate emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulates, volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”), and ammonia from process and combustion emission sources. 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.
Reclamation and remediation
The reclamation process is important to our mining operations. We work with environmental authorities to verify that land is properly restored post-mining, using local and native plant varieties. This can often result in more biodiversity after completing the reclamation process than prior to beginning operations.
- Nutrien’s Phosphate operations are currently mining at a combined rate of approximately 860 acres per year, and we reclaim land continuously as our mining operations progress. In the past three years, we have successfully returned more than 2,700 acres of land back to productive use after phosphate rock mining:
- Nutrien’s Aurora, NC Phosphate operation has pioneered a land reclamation process that has earned state and national awards over the years.
- At our White Springs, FL Phosphate mine, we strive to reclaim more land than we mine on an annual basis.
In 2021, we received federal regulatory approval of the feasibility study at the former North Maybe Mine in Idaho in which we recommend placing a geosynthetic cap system over 80 acres on an overburden pile. The overburden pile was originally created as part of a legacy Phosphate mining operation from a predecessor company in the 1980s. We will follow the regulatory process to prepare, and receive approval for, the final design and expect to complete the remedial action by 2025. We expect the remediated site to return the area to a stable, vegetated condition. We completed a similar project for the South Maybe Mine in 2017 that resulted in a 100-fold reduction of selenium concentrations in surface water and earned Nutrien an Environmental Excellence Award from the American Exploration and Mining Association.
Applications for renewal
Nutrien facilities in Alberta are currently working with Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) on upcoming operating approval renewals. As part of our ongoing commitment to engage our community, we welcome any questions or feedback from community members.