Resource Use

Championing resource use for ourselves and our customers

Recognizing that our planet has finite resources, we value every bit of material processed through our global operations. At Univar Solutions, we strive to improve resource efficiency and waste and water management to enable circularity across our value chain in our operations. Instead of managing our materials with a linear mindset—from production to consumption to disposal—we work to extend the life of our resources. Such opportunities generally center around waste elimination, material recovery and loss reduction.

Explore how we are implementing processes across Univar Solutions and working with our business partners to minimize waste creation throughout the lifecycle of our products.

Liam McCarollLiam McCaroll

Liam McCaroll

Director of Sustainability

“At Univar Solutions, we approach resource use as a responsibility and an opportunity: it is our responsibility to drive sustainable resource uses by embedding principles of circularity and operational excellence at each point of our value chain, as well as an opportunity to help our customers divert their waste away from landfill.”


Where we take action

Univar Solutions’ executive management fully supports the efforts to reduce waste and increase circularity within our operations. Together with our colleagues across the company, a primary focus is to manage hazardous waste. We also look to improve performance and report on the progress made for non-hazardous waste as part of our holistic outlook on resource use and circularity.

Infrastructure and Investment:

  • Procurement of returnable packaging
  • Increased recycling services at our facilities

Processes and Procedures

  • Finding opportunities for general waste recycling
  • Identifying beneficial reuse options for waste
  • Reviewing processes to find waste elimination opportunities


  • Ongoing communications on local action
  • Cross business action to support resource efficiency

2022 Performance Highlights

Drive sustainable resource use by embedding the principles of circularity and operational excellence.

  • Achieved a reduction of 25.3 percent reduction from baseline of hazardous waste.
  • Increased our recycling rate to 8.46 percent, a 17.2 percent improvement from the baseline.
  • Achieved a 20.05 percent reduction in water waste from baseline.

Addressing responsible water management

Water management is a key focus for Univar Solutions’ operations teams, as 24 percent of our sites are geographically located in areas with predicted high or extremely high water risk by 2025. We currently use a mix of water efficiency methods to proactively reduce the amount of water we use and our operations and engineering teams incorporate water efficiency rates as part of our key metrics for future investment planning.

Similar to waste, our performance and the significant reductions we have seen in wastewater totals are not solely the result of our purposeful efficiency actions. Our site optimization paired with water use in closing sites is likely to have inflated our baseline. While we achieved the goal set to 2025 ahead of schedule, we will maintain this goal and continue to make further wastewater reductions.

Promoting a circular economy 

Our approach to resource management is designed with the dual purpose of minimizing waste and integrating circularity throughout our operations.We have a global Sustainability Champions Network, which enables our teams to advance local recycling, prevent waste streams, and reduce single use plastics. Our teams have also identified opportunities to reduce packaging waste by adopting circular packaging options for customer samples through shopping and reclaiming reusable packaging options. 

Delivering sustainability solutions for our customers through ChemCare

In addition to managing our own resource use, Univar Solutions’ ChemCare Material Management Services team leverages our chemical distribution, logistics, assets and resources to reverse distribute clients’ products, materials and waste. ChemCare works with our manufacturing, industrial and municipal customers to create and deliver an end-to-end sustainable waste management solution that offers safe and cost-effective programs to minimize waste creation across the value chain.

Our teams conduct a comprehensive review to prioritize objectives and identify immediate improvement opportunities to determine program details, including labor management and employee responsibilities. They then design and implement safe, efficient procedures to manage production-related products and use key performance indicators to drive sustainability and budget objectives. Throughout the process, they continuously refine and identify new process efficiencies to help the client attain their best results. 

In 2022, a Univar Solutions customer generated a substantial volume of hazardous waste as a spent solvent used for fuels-blending. Our ChemCare team leveraged their technical expertise and supply chain resources to identify a reuse solution. The solvent was repurposed to rinse tanker trucks, reduce and remove truck heels, and flush off-loading lines, eliminating our customer’s need to manage the solvent as a hazardous solid waste.

Case study: Partnership with Novozymes to Provide Biological Solutions for Waste and Wastewater Treatment

Univar Solutions is a leading wastewater treatment provider in the United States and Canada. With an expansive product portfolio and an experienced team of experts, we provide specialized market expertise, technical assistance and tailored solutions for waste and wastewater management stages. In September 2021, we advanced our wastewater treatment capabilities through a new agreement with Novozymes, the world leader in biological solutions.

Novozymes' biotechnology helps users implement more sustainable wastewater treatment systems and allows customers to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and produce cleaner water. The new agreement reinforces Univar Solutions' ability to service municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants, providing bioaugmentation, biogas and sludge management enzymatic and microbial treatment solutions.

*Goal set from our 2019/2020 average baseline