Nutrien’s Nitrogen facility on the small island of Trinidad is making big waves in the reduction of waste.
Published: Mar 30, 2023
Managing waste and looking for opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle is top of mind for employees at Nutrien’s Trinidad Nitrogen facility. With this facility being one of the world’s largest Nitrogen complexes, operating four ammonia plants and one urea plant on 165 acres of the island of Trinidad’s sheltered west coast, finding ways to minimize the facility’s environmental footprint is crucial.
In 2022, the site prevented over 100 metric tonnes (MT) of cooling tower wood from going to the landfill and over 330 MT of different types of waste was recycled. To put this into perspective, that is the weight of approximately two blue whales or 60 African elephants – a huge reduction to Nutrien’s environmental footprint on a small island with finite landfill space.
“We take that extra step at the site to support a sustainable approach to waste management,” says Lawrence Sandy, Senior Superintendent, Process Engineering. “Nutrien’s program is built on three things: Reduction by being careful with what we purchase; Reuse by giving the material a second life; and Recycling by converting material into new products.”
The Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company Limited (SWMCOL) reports that approximately 700,000 MT of waste is sent to the landfill per year (1500-2000 MT per day), 33 percent of which comes from industrial, commercial and institutional origin.
“Here at Nutrien’s Trinidad Nitrogen facility, we try to reduce our impact on our landfills by finding innovative ways of reusing or upcycling our waste wherever we can,” says Lianne Moy Hing, Coordinator, Environmental.
Some recycling programs at this facility have been around for years, but new initiatives like using old oil drums to create grow boxes for kitchen gardens at home have started more recently.
Over 30 Nutrien employees, contractors and family members volunteered and built 164 grow boxes which were distributed to several children’s homes, homes for the elderly, schools and to a handful of competition winners from it’s Model Farm training sessions in 2021, making a positive impact in the local community.
“Making grow boxes out of empty oil drums and wooden pallets from the facility not only helps repurpose a waste product that we generate, but also helps to encourage the community to establish kitchen gardens at home,” says Josanne Basanoo, Coordinator, Model Farm Operations. “It’s another way we are helping to feed the future right here in Trinidad.”
Some Nutrien employees reuse safe waste material in projects at home in very creative ways. Ruthven Hector, Site Security Advisor, is one of those employees. He converted between 20 – 30 used wooden pallets to furniture and different decorative pieces including plant stands, birdhouses and wine holders.
“We are depleting our resources more quickly than we can renew them, and we generate waste in greater volumes than we can safely dispose of,” says Ruthven. That’s one of the reasons he undertakes these projects in his spare time - to be able to give the used wooden pallets a second life.
“I am consistently amazed by the talent and creativity of our employees,” says Tracey Andre, Acting Managing Director, Trinidad. “It shows that no matter how small we think our actions are, we can cumulatively have a bigger and more positive impact on our environment.”
Click on this video to see all the innovative ways our Trinidad Nitrogen facility is reducing waste.