At Westlake, we continuously look for opportunities to improve our operations, safety, efficiencies, and impact to the environment. We monitor and measure costs
and benefits, including sustainability benefits, when gauging the efficacy of projects. We take a holistic view of how projects can improve operations in multiple ways.
Operational, Chemical and Worker Safety
For Chemical Safety Management, Westlake has a standardized chemical approval process. Before each chemical is brought on site, the hazards associated with the storage and use of the chemical are evaluated by the Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) department. Any special precautions, training or equipment that are required are conducted and utilized prior to using the chemical. If acceptable risk mitigation cannot be implemented, the chemical is not approved and alternatives must be found.
Drive to Zero is our safety commitment to each other. Safety is the number one priority in the workplace and our plants across the globe. Westlake is committed to ensuring our operations and people are kept safe in all plants.
Our safety efforts translate into an overall injury rate that is below the industry average. Our safety record consistently ranks Westlake in the top quartile or 25% of performance for our industry categories.
Process Safety Management (PSM), and Health, Safety and Environment (HSE)
Process Safety Management (PSM) requires consistent application of best practices across plants and manufacturing operations. HSE plays a pivotal role in overseeing all related policy protections, risk identification, and other aspects of our business — to keep our people healthy and safe. Westlake's HSE and PSM processes are audited at all sites globally every three years, reinforcing that safety is not a goal but an unchanging requirement we vigilantly enforce.
To further demonstrate this, we are actively working towards our goal of attaining Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Star status for each or our United States-based chemical plants by 2024.
Energy Use, Air Quality and Emissions
Westlake continues to make steady progress toward achieving our 2030 target to reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 CO2e emissions per ton of production by 20% from a
2016 baseline. In 2021, we reduced our CO2e emissions rate by 2.27%. As of 2021, we have achieved a total reduction of 14.75% in carbon intensity from our 2016
baseline while our production increased by 16%.
Our total energy usage in 2021 was 187,225,778 MMBTUs, which includes our Global Compounds operations outside the United States for the first time. In 2021, our energy efficiency MMBTU per ton production, improved by 5.74% year over year as we recovered from extreme weather events and COVID-related impacts in 2020. Comparing 2021 to 2019, we improved our energy efficiency by 3.15% by continuing our efforts to improve our process efficiency and equipment upgrades.
We acknowledge that our core operations require significant energy use. Therefore, we seek to continually reduce the carbon intensity of our operations by focusing on the optimal feedstocks for energy as well as our ethane processing and downstream chemical engineering processes.
Responsible Waste Management and Water Use
Westlake's operations have always focused on minimizing scrap waste and looked for ways to reuse post-industrial recycled materials where possible.
- At our vinyl products plants, we recycled almost 100% of our in-house generated scrap and prevented waste from entering landfills. Our in-house generated recycled material — in addition to purchased post-industrial recycled (PIR) material — are incorporated into our standard manufacturing processes to produce durable goods.
- Our Westlake Pipe & Fittings business unit collected approximately 9 million lbs. of post-industrial recycled material to produce our Form-A-Drain® product.
- Our DaVinci Roofscapes business recycled 1.1 million lbs. of waste in 2021, resulting in a total of 9.2 million lbs. of waste being recycled in the past 10 years. Westlake’s environmental initiatives have enabled DaVinci to recapture almost all its scrap waste and reprocess it, resulting in a net-zero landfill scrap from our facility.
- In September 2021, we acquired Dimex, a leading manufacturer of consumer products with sustainability attributes made from post-industrial recycled PVC
and polyethylene (PE). The acquisition will allow other Westlake operations to divert more waste materials from landfills by reusing scrap collected to produce housing and consumer products such as No-Dig Landscape Edging®, MotionTex® Fitness Equipment Mats, and GrillTex® Under the Grill Protective Deck and Patio Mats.
Westlake joined The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW) in March 2019 to reduce plastic waste in the environment, particularly in the world's oceans. AEPW is a coalition of 50 companies from the plastics and consumer goods value chain aligned to work to eliminate plastic waste in the environment and demonstrate projects that create and extract value from plastic waste.
Water is an essential resource for everyone. In our business, water is used for steam generation, cooling and even incorporation into some of our products. We continuously seek to reduce water usage in our plants throughout the world.
Lower-carbon PVC and Caustic Soda
Westlake Vinnolit, our German subsidiary, , launched two lower-carbon products in 2021 – GreenVin™ PVC and GreenVin™ Caustic Soda – manufactured with renewable energy certificates (Guarantees of Origin). Carbon-dioxide savings associated with GreenVin™ PVC are about 25% compared to conventionally produced Vinnolit PVC.
PVCO – Molecular-Oriented PVC Pipe
In 2021, Westlake Pipe & Fittings announced the launch of molecular-oriented PVC (PVCO), which has a lower-carbon footprint than other water main materials. The PVC molecules are stretched and reorganized during manufacturing, resulting in increased strength and a lighter weight product that is ideal for use in replacing aging metal pipes.
Westlake Epoxy is a global leader in epoxies critical for the manufacture of pioneering light weighting components for automobiles, aerospace, wind turbines and more. Using Westlake Epoxy-supplied materials, our customer Rassini achieved a 30% weight reduction in the leaf-spring suspension for the 2021 Ford F-150 pickup truck, winning an award from the Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Division.
Westlake Royal Building Products
In Ohio, Westlake Royal Building Products is part of an initiative that collects old PVC siding from building sites in an effort to divert material from landfills for post-industrial and post-consumer recycled products. More broadly, Westlake achieved two years of +Vantage Vinyl certification, recognizing many activities within the company including our use of Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) software to analyze the environmental life cycle of products, such as the PVC resin used in Westlake Royal Building Products’ vinyl siding.
One-pellet Flexible Packaging Solution
Westlake Polyethylene has continued to partner with customers to commercialize a “one-pellet solution” for flexible packaging applications. This solution will provide customers with a consistent and reliable material for use in the production of films, using 45% post-consumer polyethylene resin without degrading the physical properties of the material.
Circular Economy Solutions
At Westlake, we proactively seek to innovate to advance a circular economy, which aims to keep resources in use for as long as possible to maximize their value. Areas of focus that offer the most potential for creating value are described below:
Customizable engineered solutions:
Extract plasticizers for reuse
The company has utilized a proprietary process to extract plasticizers from unusable items to be reused in a new product or compound.
Reduce odor when using recycled materials
A large hurdle for the application of PCR is odor from residual contaminants, limiting the sustainable compound's use in certain client products.
Incorporate more biodegradable additives:
Westlake is researching the application of biodegradable additives in collaboration with suppliers.
Plastic Recycling and Reuse:
Vinnolit, a division of Westlake with five PVC and caustic soda plants in Germany, has partnered with 10 European organizations in the EU Circular Flooring Project, which aims to enable environmentally friendly recycling of postconsumer PVC floor coverings. The EU-funded consortium is developing an innovative plastic recycling process, CreaSolv, to separate PVC resins from plasticizers in used flooring, and create granules for re-use in new floor covering products. Vinnolit is providing expertise in polymer analytics and testing for evaluating the PVC recyclate and potential use applications. We look forward to bringing this flooring solution and others to market over the next decade.
In our current report, you'll find more detailed information about our efforts, how we measure our overall environmental footprint, and the progress we've made over the past year. Westlake 2020 ESG Report.