DSM Integrated Annual Report 2021

Waste & circularity

We are committed to securing the future availability of natural resources and unlocking more value from the limited resources we have. We monitor and improve our own operational impact through resource efficiency improvements, enabling our customers to deliver sustainable and circular solutions, and advocating for the transition to a circular, bio-based economy.















Renewable & secondary raw materials1







Renewable raw materials (% of spend)





















Total process-related waste efficiency improvement


at least maintain





Waste recycled


80–90% in 2021





Non-hazardous process-related waste (kt)







Hazardous process-related waste (kt)








All data presented in Planet are subject to the Non-financial reporting policy.


The 2020 total process-related waste efficiency improvement, non-hazardous process-related waste and hazardous process-related waste have been restated due to a correction in the calculations at multiple locations.


The net increase in hazardous process-related waste is due to the impact of acquisitions and divestments (~4 kt). Hazardous process-related waste for our other locations remained in a similar range as 2020.

As the world’s population grows, the demand for Earth’s resources will only continue to rise. The United Nations has calculated that to sustain our current lifestyles, the equivalent of three Planet Earths would be required by mid-century. Considering our global economy is only 8.6% circular and that planetary boundaries are crossed, it is time to move away from linear production and consumption systems and work together to build sustainable food and production systems. Bridging the gap to a circular economy will support the health of the global population of tomorrow and improve livelihoods and the natural environment. A circular economy for food mimics natural systems of regeneration so that waste does not exist but is instead feedstock for another cycle.

We enable our customers to transition toward a circular and bio-based economy by focusing on five drivers:

  • Reduce the use of critical resources throughout the value chain
  • Replace scarce, hazardous, and potentially harmful resources with safe and renewable alternatives
  • Extend the lifetime of products by means of improved durability or shelf-life
  • Design for recyclability
  • Recover waste streams by viewing waste as a resource

Renewable & secondary raw materials

We are accelerating our efforts to replace finite fossil resources with renewable (bio-based) raw materials, as well as secondary (recycled) materials. Replacing finite resources with alternative renewable resources can also have environmental co-benefits, such as reducing the carbon footprint of our solutions.

Our progress on renewable & secondary raw materials

The renewable raw materials we use include waste from agriculture, yeasts and enzymes, carbohydrates and natural oils, and acids. In 2021, the share of our spend on renewable raw materials remained stable at approximately 15%. Overall volumes of renewable raw materials increased, in line with organic growth.

More information on how we approach sustainable biomass is available in our position paper on Sustainable Biomass on the company website.

DSM Engineering Materials partners with Sympatex Technologies to launch mass-balanced, bio-based Arnitel®

To address growing consumer and legislative demand for lower carbon footprint and more sustainable feedstock, the sports and apparel value chain is increasingly integrating bio-based materials into its designs. By offering a new range of mass-balanced, bio-based Arnitel®, DSM Engineering Materials is enabling Sympatex Technologies to meet these demands and offer consumers more sustainable choices. The end-product contains more than 25% bio-based content by weight.

Mass-balance accounting is a well-known approach that has been designed to trace the flow of recycled- and/or bio-based materials through a complex value chain. At all times, we ensure the transparency and traceability of our bio- and/or recycled-based solutions through third-party sustainability certificates. More information on how we approach mass-balance is available on our company website.

DSM Protective Materials and industry partners launch coalition to close the loop on Dyneema®

The cross-industry coalition, CirculariTeam®, consists of parties from across the value chain that use DSM’s Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™, in their products. CirculariTeam® aims to drive the transition toward renewable bio- and recycled-based resources within its respective industry. This matches our vision and mission of enabling a circular economy and keeping materials at their highest value for the longest possible time. CirculariTeam® has identified seven focus areas: reverse logistics, recycle and reuse solutions, improved production efficiency (including waste reduction), separation of waste into material components, design for circularity, regulation, and information-sharing.

DSM Protective Materials and SABIC, a global leader in the chemical industry, started a collaboration to create recycled-based Dyneema®. Through a joint pilot with multiple CirculariTeam® members, the manufacturing and usage of Dyneema® using mixed plastic waste as feedstock (via a mass-balance approach) was successfully demonstrated. This is an important step toward the future goal of fully closing the loop by delivering Dyneema® made from ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene waste. This collaboration underlines our efforts to accelerate the introduction of a circular economy for materials.

DSM Protective Materials and Clariter partner to pursue chemical recycling solution for Dyneema®-based end-products

DSM Protective Materials is actively pursuing reuse and recycling solutions for end-of-life Dyneema®-based products. To drive technical recycling solutions, DSM Protective Materials and Clariter partnered to test the feasibility of using Dyneema® as a feedstock in Clariter’s chemical recycling process. Sample products made with Dyneema® were used in Clariter’s tests at its pilot plant in Poland. The positive results confirm the technical viability of transforming Dyneema®-based end-products into high-value, industrial-grade, product families (oils, waxes and solvents) via Clariter’s patented three-step chemical recycling process. These can be further used as ingredients to manufacture new end- and consumer products.


Our waste management approach consists of a continuous improvement cycle concerning our total process-related waste produced and of driving more circular ways of waste treatment. Progress is steered as part of dedicated site improvements programs.

Our definition of waste recycled is the percentage of non-hazardous and hazardous process-related waste that is recovered off-site or, if this is not possible, incinerated off-site with heat recovery. In total, this amounted to 1691 kt out of 195 kt of total process-related waste in 2021. We pay careful attention to meeting local waste management legislation. As of 2022, we will steer the journey on reducing our linear waste management further with a new target of 50% absolute landfill reduction by 2030 versus 2020.

Waste breakdown by type and destination

in thousand tons

Waste breakdown by type and destination (bar chart)

In the past year, we made good progress on both drivers, with a 7.5% of process-related waste efficiency improvement from 2020 to 2021 and a percentage of waste recycled of 86% (our ambition level is in the range of 80–90%). This improvement is mainly due to process improvements and waste reduction programs at our main locations. For example, in Freeport (Texas, USA), a waste stream that was incinerated without heat recovery was diverted to incineration with heat recovery and a recycling opportunity for methylene chloride was identified by working with different waste management contractors. In Pecem (Brazil), a partnership was developed to allow composting of organic waste instead of landfilling it.

Our hazardous waste mainly consists of mixed chemicals and solvents. We follow the waste hierarchy to divert hazardous waste from landfill, we minimize hazardous landfill as part of our SHE requirements, and 92% of our hazardous waste is already recovered off-site or incinerated by means of heat recovery. Less than 2% of our hazardous process-related waste is landfilled, due to specific regulatory constraints and countries with limited alternative means of disposal.

1 All data presented in Planet are subject to the Non-financial reporting policy.

Carbon footprint
The total set of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions expressed as CO2eq.
Circular economy
Circular economy refers to an economy that is restorative and in which materials flows are of two types: biological nutrients, designed to re-enter the biosphere safely, and technical nutrients, which are designed to circulate at high quality without entering the biosphere throughout their entire lifecycle.
Mass-balance accounting is a well-known approach that has been designed to trace the flow of materials through a complex value chain. The mass-balance approach provides a set of rules for how to allocate the bio-based and/or recycled content to different products to be able to claim and market the content as ‘bio’-based or ‘recycled’-based.
Renewable resource
A natural resource which is replenished by natural processes at a rate comparable to, or faster than, its rate of consumption by humans or other users. The term covers perpetual resources such as solar radiation, tides, winds and hydroelectricity as well as fuels derived from organic matter (bio-based fuels).
Safety, Health and Environment (SHE)
DSM’s policy is to maintain business activities and produce products that do not adversely affect safety or health, and that fit with the concept of sustainable development. The company does this by setting the following objectives: to provide an injury-free and incident-free workplace; to prevent all work-related disabilities or health problems; to control and minimize the risks associated with DSM’s products for their whole life cycle and to choose production processes and products such that the use of raw materials and energy is minimized; to evaluate and improve DSM’s practices, processes and products continuously in order to make them safe and acceptable to its employees, the customers, the public and the environment.