BASF Report 2022

Material Topics in Focus: Emissions to Air, Waste and Remediation

In 2022, a new residue incineration line was commissioned in Ludwigshafen, Germany. It makes an important contribution to reliable waste disposal and is also interesting from a technological point of view: An upright, cooled combustion chamber increases the efficiency by 10%. This means that the additional steam fed into the Verbund does not have to be generated by burning natural gas.

The graphic depicts the different stations along the value chain. The topics in each chapter address the station shown in light blue. (here: BASF, customers) (graphic)

We want to continuously reduce emissions to air, prevent waste and protect the soil. That is why we are committed to operating our plants safely and efficiently, and to using resources responsibly. We are consistently reducing the environmental impact of our plants and processes with our Operational Excellence Program.

At a glance

2.2 million metric tons

BASF Group waste


share of our waste recycled or thermally recovered

  • Improvements based on continuous monitoring of emissions to air and waste streams
  • Circular concepts an important part of our activities
  • Systematic management of contaminated sites

Strategy and governance

The safe and efficient operation of our plants and the responsible management of resources and waste are core elements of our Responsible Care Management system. We have defined our global standards for emissions to air, waste and contaminated sites in Group-wide guidelines, the implementation of which is the responsibility of the sites and Group companies. The Environmental Protection, Health, Safety and Quality unit in the Corporate Center conducts regular audits to monitor compliance with legal requirements and internal guidelines.

BASF’s global network of experts shares information, insights and best practices on an ongoing basis to further reduce our emissions to air, manage waste and responsibly handle contaminated sites.

Continuous documentation and monitoring of emissions to air, waste streams and contaminated sites as well as the imple­mentation of measures for improvement are an integral part of our environmental management. In addition to greenhouse gases, we also measure and analyze other air pollutants to prevent the emission of potentially harmful substances.

Our waste management is based on the systematic tracking of our material flows and follows a clear hierarchy: We aim to avoid waste as far as possible, for example, by continuously optimizing our processes or developing new production methods. BASF’s Verbund structure with its networked plants and value chains is key here: The by-products of one plant serve as feedstock elsewhere in the BASF Verbund, avoiding waste and enabling us to use raw materials as efficiently as possible.

If these cannot be used within BASF’s Verbund structures, we assess whether they can be recycled or thermally recovered. We have established processes for the safe, proper and environmentally responsible disposal of materials that we cannot recycle or where recycling is not legally permitted. If we use external waste disposal companies, we conduct regular audits to verify that waste is disposed of properly. In this way, we also contribute to preventive soil protection and keep today’s waste from becoming tomorrow’s contamination. If soil and groundwater contamination occurs at active, acquired or former sites, we review and implement appropriate remediation measures.

We are committed to reducing the impact on air and soil and minimizing disposal volumes and material consumption along our value chains. We expect suppliers to comply with internationally recognized environmental standards. This is assessed as part of our supplier management. We support our suppliers in developing and implementing measures for improvement, for example in waste management. We offer our customers a wide range of products that can reduce air pollutants or waste – from industrial process catalysts, fuel additives and catalysts for the automotive sector to additives and track-and-trace technologies to extend the useful life of plastics or improve mechanical recycling of plastic waste.

We are increasingly aligning our actions with the circular economy principle. For example, we are increasingly using recycled and waste-based raw materials in our production, recycling operating supplies, and expanding our capacities for recovering precious metals from spent automotive and industrial catalysts. We are also developing product-specific recycling technologies and are involved in cross-industry networks and initiatives to avoid plastic waste and strengthen the circular economy.

Emissions to air

Total emissions of air pollutants from our production plants amounted to 23,360 metric tons in 2022 (2021: 25,869 metric tons1). Emissions of ozone-depleting substances as defined by the Montreal Protocol totaled 14 metric tons in 2022 (2021: 18 metric tons1). Emissions of heavy metals2 in 2022 amounted to 4 metric tons (2021: 2 metric tons).

We want to further reduce emissions with various measures. For instance, we use catalysts to reduce nitrogen oxides or feed waste gases back into the production process.

Emissions to air (Metric tons)

Air pollutants from BASF operations



CO (carbon monoxide)



NOX (total nitrogen oxides)



NMVOC (nonmethane volatile organic compounds)



SOX (total sulfur oxides)






NH3 (ammonia) and other inorganic substances







The comparative figure for 2021 has been adjusted to reflect updated data.


BASF generated 2.21 million metric tons of waste in 2022 (2021: 2.41 million metric tons1). Of this, 52.6% was disposed of (2021: 52.4%1). Hazardous waste accounted for 75.2% of the total disposed waste (2021: 76.9%1). Based on the concept of the circular economy, we are continuously examining options for material or thermal recycling for all waste (see “Strategy”). In this way, we were able to find new uses for 47.4% of our waste in 2022 (2021: 47.6%1). We continuously identify and evaluate the safest and most environmentally sound disposal routes for non-recyclable waste. In 2022, most of our hazardous waste was incinerated (75.1%), where possible with energy recovery. 8.0% of hazardous waste was disposed of in landfill. This was mainly contaminated construction waste that cannot be recycled due to legal requirements.

1 The comparative figure for 2021 has been adjusted to reflect updated data.

2 Heavy metals are included in the figure for dust (see the table “Emissions to air”).

Waste generation in the BASF Group (Million metric tons)


Hazardous wastea

Nonhazardous wastea











Thermally recovered





Waste recovered





Through incineration (without energy recovery)





In surface landfills










Waste disposed of





Total waste generation






Waste is classified as hazardous or nonhazardous waste according to local regulations.


Physical/chemical and biological treatment, underground disposal


The comparative figure for 2021 has been adjusted to reflect updated data.

Contaminated sites

We have binding global standards for managing contaminated sites. A worldwide network of experts ensures these are implemented. We develop remediation measures designed to balance nature conservation, climate protection concerns, costs and social responsibility. These solutions take into account the legal framework and current technological standards. Contaminated sites are docu­mented in a database. Ongoing remediation work around the world continued on schedule in 2022 and planning was concluded for further measures.

For more information, see:

Responsible Care®
Registered trademark of the European Chemical Industry Council
Value chain
A value chain describes the successive steps in a production process: from raw materials through various intermediate steps, such as transportation and production, to the finished product.
In the BASF Verbund, plants are intelligently connected. In this system, chemical processes consume less energy, produce higher product yields and conserve resources. The by-products of one plant serve as feedstock elsewhere, creating efficient value chains\_– from basic chemicals to high value-added solutions such as coatings or crop protection products. Our Verbund concept – realized in production, technologies, the market and digitalization – enables innovative solutions for a sustainable future.

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