Waste, Tailings, Air Emissions, Reclamation & Remediation
Nutrien is committed to an overall reduction of our environmental footprint by creating and implementing stewardship systems across our sites, operations and communities.
Key waste ambition:
ESG Performance Goal/Target
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. Our tailings piles are in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and environmental standards.
Managing waste from our operations in a way that minimizes the impact on the surrounding environment minimizes costs and reduces regulatory and reputational risks. We are committed to an overall reduction of our environmental impact by creating and implementing stewardship systems across our operations and communities.
In 2020, we implemented a Global Waste Minimization Standard to communicate 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 reduction, reuse and recycling of materials. Although our sites have two years to conduct their initial review, over two thirds of our North American sites have already completed the process.
We manage our hazardous waste responsibly and look for opportunities to reuse or recycle our non-hazardous waste. Approximately 95 percent of the waste we produce is nonhazardous. Mining waste referred to as “mine tailings” is nonhazardous 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. Our tailings piles are in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and environmental standards.
Read more in our 2021 ESG Report and our Tailings Safety Disclosure.
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. 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.
We have started shipping some crop protection products in large reusable or recyclable plastic containers to minimize plastic waste. In Canada, we are part of an industry-wide program called Cleanfarms that collects a variety of used agricultural packaging.
Our operations can affect local air quality through combustion emissions such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), particulates and volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”), in addition to non-combustion air emissions such as ammonia. Data on our releases of air emissions are available here. We continue to upgrade equipment to lower NOx-emitting technologies.
The reclamation process is important to our mining operations. Nutrien has a legal obligation to reclaim land used for operations and return it to a beneficial use. 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.
- At our White Springs phosphate mine, we strive to reclaim more land than we mine on an annual basis. In 2020, we reclaimed approximately 700 acres.
- Our North Rasmussen Ridge Mine project in Idaho was completed between 2018 and 2020 and involved approximately 4.5 million m3 of earthworks and 245 acres of revegetation. We were recognized by the American Exploration & Mining Association for our outstanding closure design and reclamation.
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.
Please review the following Applications for Renewal:
Feeding the Future Plan
Transforming Agriculture: Our 2030 Commitments.Download