BASF Report 2023

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

In 2020, we initiated a program for the disposal of solid waste at our site in Guaratinguetá, Brazil, with MAWERYC (Management of Waste and Recovery Cycle). The aim is to reduce environmental pollution by avoiding waste and implementing solutions with more sustainable technologies. Thanks to the program, we are currently saving around 1,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents each year.

We are constantly working on reducing the environmental impact of our business. This includes reducing emissions to air, preventing waste and protecting the soil by operating our plants safely and efficiently and using resources responsibly. We are also developing product solutions for our customers that can reduce emissions and waste.


Strategy and governance

Our product solutions, such as catalysts and additives, contribute to reducing pollutants in the air and reducing waste. What’s more, the implementation of circular models offers us business opportunities. However, emissions to air and waste from our production processes along with existing contaminated sites can have a negative impact on the environment. We systematically record opportunities and risks arising from emissions to air, waste and contaminated sites as part of our general opportunity and risk management.

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 requirements, the implementation of which is the responsibility of the sites and Group companies. The Environmental Protection, Health, Safety and Quality (EHSQ) unit in the Corporate Center conducts regular audits to monitor compliance with legal requirements and internal provisions. BASF’s global network of experts shares information, insights and best practices on an ongoing basis. Continuous monitoring and documentation of atmospheric emissions, 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, other air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and ammonia are emitted as a result of power generation and production. We evaluate and analyze these emissions and reduce them using emission control technologies.

Almost half of our waste can be recycled or thermally recovered.

Dr. Claudia Kappler
Corporate Environmental Protection, Energy and Remediation

Through targeted waste management, we want to keep material consumption and disposal volumes to a minimum by systematically tracking our material flows and following a clear hierarchy: We aim to avoid waste as far as possible, for example, by continuously optimizing our processes or developing new production methods. This is where our Verbund structure with its networked plants and value chains comes in: 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 the 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 soil protection and keep today’s waste from becoming tomorrow’s contamination. If soil or groundwater contamination has occurred 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 require 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 remove air pollutants or reduce waste – from industrial process catalysts, fuel additives and emissions catalysts for various industries 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 plants amounted to 21,605 metric tons in 2023 (2022: 23,3541). Emissions of ozone-depleting substances as defined by the Montreal Protocol totaled 12 metric tons in 2023 (2022: 14 metric tons). Emissions of heavy metals2 in 2023 rose to 5 metric tons due to changes in the product portfolio (2022: 4 metric tons).

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 2022 has been adjusted to reflect updated data.

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


BASF generated 2.13 million metric tons of waste in 2023 (2022: 2.21 million metric tons). Of this, 53.7% was disposed of (2022: 52.6%). Hazardous waste accounted for 74.4% of the total disposed waste (2022: 75.2%). Based on the concept of the circular economy, we are continuously examining options for recycling or thermal recovery for all waste. In this way, we were able to find new uses for 46.3% of our waste in 2023 (2022: 47.4%). We continuously identify and evaluate the safest and most environmentally sound disposal routes for nonrecyclable waste. In 2023, most of our hazardous waste was incinerated (72.3%), where possible with energy recovery. 9.9% of hazardous waste was disposed of in landfill. This was mainly contaminated construction waste that cannot be recycled due to legal requirements.

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

Contaminated sites

We have binding global standards for managing contaminated sites, implemented by a global network of experts. We develop remediation solutions that aim to balance nature conservation, climate protection concerns, costs and social responsibility. These site and case-specific measures take into account the legal frameworks and currently available technology. We document contamination risks and the status of soil and groundwater for our sites worldwide in a database. Ongoing remediation work continued on schedule in the reporting year and planning was completed for further measures.

For more information, see Notes:

1 The comparative figure for 2022 has been adjusted to reflect updated data.

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

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.

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