Waste management

We optimize our production processes to minimize waste generation. At Repsol, we manage waste throughout the entire life cycle of our processes by encouraging reusing and recycling. Also, we internally recover third-party waste as alternative raw materials to manufacture our products in our more sustainable way.

Circle garden

Following circular economy principles

This new production and consumption model encourages the use of waste as new resources, which promotes sustainable development over time as opposed to the linear economy's traditional models based on the processes of extraction, manufacture, and disposal.

We apply the circular economy principles throughout the entire life cycle of our operations and in all the countries where we operate. We currently have more than 320 circular projects.

Our management tools 

At Repsol, we actively manage waste according to the waste hierarchy principles: We give priority to prevention, followed by minimization, we prioritize reuse and recycling, and where this is not possible, we try to recover or send it for disposal as the last possible option. 

  1. PREVENT: We design our processes and products to minimize the impacts derived from our activity.
  2. REDUCE: We optimize our operations to be more efficient and minimize waste generation.
  3. REUSE: We extend the useful life of our products by repairing and reusing them whenever possible.
  4. RECYCLE: We prioritize the recycling of our waste, as opposed to more traditional waste management alternatives.
  5. RECOVER: We prioritize the recovery of our waste as a preferable option to landfill.
  6. DISPOSAL: As a last resort when it comes to managing our waste, we take it to landfill in safe conditions.

In addition, we regularly draw up a detailed waste inventory which, together with the associated indicators, helps us to measure our performance, analyze areas for improvement, and propose specific actions focused on complying with the waste hierarchy and minimizing the impact of waste on the environment. We also share experiences and lessons learned among our industrial sites to ensure that best available management practices are always used.

2023 Waste management and circular economy

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  • 306-3 Waste generated
  • 306-3 Waste diverted from disposal
  • 306-3 Waste directed to disposal
  • Materials inflow for Repsol Circular Economy projects

Repsol works throughout the value chain to prevent the generation of waste and mitigate the environmental impacts that may result from its activity, its supply chain, or the use of its products and services. This action includes the implementation of different circular economy projects for the recovery of waste at our facilities or in collaboration with external waste management services and other entities. The following infographic reflects Repsol's waste management in accordance with the requirements established by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Success stories

A hand holding pellets

Zero Pellets Project

Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) is an international program aimed at preventing the loss of plastic pellets, flakes, and dust from ending up in the environment. OCS was initiated by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) and the Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) more than 25 years ago and now has hundreds of partners around the world. In this context, companies belonging to the plastics value chain (manufacturers, processors, logistics operators, distributors, waste managers, etc.) join forces by committing themselves to the implementation of cleaning and containment practices in order to achieve the goal of zero pellet loss.

As part of the program since 2015, we have developed specific measures based on six pillars: improve worksite set-up to prevent and address spills, create internal procedures, provide employee training and accountability, auditing, legal compliance, and awareness raising with partners.

Bird's eye view of industrial complex

Waste recovery at our Puertollano Complex

The project consists in the recovery of waste from the floor of the vinyl acetate distillation column from which we recover isododecane and vinyl acetate, which are then put through a purification process and reincorporated into the EVA/LDPE plant as raw materials. The regenerated isododecane makes up approximately 50% of the complex's total consumption and the recovered vinyl acetate 0.3%.

This project, which has just completed the certification process, boosts the circular economy and reduces the consumption of virgin raw materials and our carbon footprint.

A woman working in a refinery

Repsol Polidux

The Repsol Polidux facility (Huesca, Spain) launched a project to carry out an inventory and classification of idle assets at its facilities with the aim of reusing, as much as possible, and prioritizing the recycling and recovery of those things that could not be reused. In total, around 60 tonnes of assets and equipment were managed, allowing them to be reused and avoiding their disposal in landfills.

This initiative has prevented the emission of more than 220 tonnes of CO2, and it has reduced the energy demand and water footprint associated with the management of these assets in case they had to be declared as waste.

A researcher looking at a beaker

SIGAUS: Our commitment to extended producer responsibility

Since 2007, Repsol has been part of the Used Industrial Oils Management System known as SIGAUS. This non-profit entity is in charge of guaranteeing the collection of this waste through a network of managers comprising around 160 companies throughout Spain. These managers take care of the collection, transport, storage, analysis, and treatment (preliminary and final) of the waste, which is then recovered to obtain a valid lubricant base for reformulation into new lubricants.

Through this system, Repsol manages to prevent the environmental impact of its products which, with use, become waste. The advantages include:

  • Reducing the consumption of raw materials by reintroducing waste as an alternative raw material in production cycles, thus promoting the circular economy. With 3 liters of used oil, 2 liters of new oil are obtained.
  • Thanks to the regeneration of used oil, the emission of CO2 and other polluting substances (SO2, NOx, NMVOC) is avoided compared to its production from oil refining. Since 2007, SIGAUS has managed more than 2 million tons of used oil, preventing more than 950,000 tons of CO2.
  • In addition, it avoids the environmental impacts derived from the disposal of used oils by other polluting methods, such as incineration or dumping.
Two operators at a complex wearing PPE

Reusing and recycling to extend the life of our equipment and assets

At Repsol, we promote the reuse and recovery of our assets, with the main aim of optimizing the use of resources, extending their useful life, and delaying the end of life of this equipment.

For this reason, we look for suppliers that help us to apply circularity in our activities and allow us to find a new life for our equipment outside our facilities.

Thanks to this effort, in 2021 we managed to give a second life to more than 1,300 tons of equipment and materials, promoting circularity and preventing the consumption of virgin raw materials. In this way, we have prevented the emission of more than 2,000 MT of CO2, reduced our water footprint by more than 1 million M3, as well as the cumulative energy demand by more than 34,000 GJ.

Butane cylinders

Packaging recovery schemes and reverse logistics processes

For many years now, at Repsol we have optimized the use of our butane bottles under recovery schemes and reverse logistics processes, thus promoting the reuse and optimization of resources.

Today, with the collaboration of our suppliers (maintenance companies) and our factories, we are implementing new mechanisms that allow us to guarantee the traceability of each of the marketed bottles.

Digitalization, through QR codes placed on each of the bottles, doesn't just allow us to know relevant information about each one of them (filling, maintenance, verification, decommissioning, valve type, and gas quality), but also extend the useful life of the bottles and their components by a third.

This project has important environmental advantages as it reduces the number of trips to the maintenance company and thus avoids the corresponding CO2 emissions from transport.