At Suncor, waste material of all kinds is closely managed so that its production, control and disposal comply with regulatory requirements. Regulations, including those regarding waste management, continue to evolve in order to incorporate industry advances and include public input.
Waste management in Oil Sands and Exploration & Production
Suncor's Oil Sands and Exploration & Production (E&P) businesses actively record waste shipments in ways that define and track waste according to provincial or federal criteria. Reports are customized based on stewardship and regulatory needs.
Waste management in our Refining & Marketing operations
Our Refining & Marketing waste management efforts include the establishment of on-site bio-remediation soil recycling centres. Contaminated soil that is removed from our marketing sites during renovations is bio-remediated at these recycling centres. Much of the soil can then be reused as fill at select locations. With the operation of our soil recycling centres and the reuse of much of the remediated soil, we reduce the need for soil disposal at designated municipal landfills.
We participate in several recycling initiatives, such as refinery catalyst and waste materials recycling programs. Catalysts used in certain types of processing applications are normally regenerated in the refinery production units. After many cycles, the materials can no longer be regenerated and the spent catalyst is sent to specialty recyclers for metal reclamation. Catalysts used in other types of applications cannot be regenerated; once spent, they are also sent for metals reclamation.
Suncor also participates in an industry-sponsored and regulated effort to improve the collection and recycling of used motor oil from automobiles and commercial sources.
Raising the bar: Major Projects embraces waste recycling
An innovative waste management initiative that began with a single project in 2004 has since evolved into a standard practice of Suncor's Major Projects business. At the outset, the idea was to minimize Suncor's resource use by incorporating recycling and reuse of construction materials into plans for the proposed Voyageur upgrader*. Then, in 2010, Major Projects rolled out the recycling initiative to the Millennium Naphtha Unit and TROTM projects as well. Today, an expanded form of this program is part of the entire Major Projects business, complete with annual goals.
In 2012, the program was further developed to include not just construction wastes, but all waste streams produced at Major Projects sites (this encompassed Oil Sands and downstream, Voyageur, In Situ and Fort Hills). The goal for 2012 was to divert an average of 70% of all wastes away from landfill at all projects. The goal was met and exceeded, with an average diversion rate of 75% achieved.
* In March 2013, Suncor announced that it would not proceed with the Voyageur upgrader project. The decision was the result of a strategic and economic review launch by Suncor and its joint venture partner, Total E&P Canada Ltd. in late 2012.
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