Waste &
Circular Economy

Waste & Circular Economy

Why is it material?

The sustainable and optimal use of materials and natural resources throughout their life cycle is an important business opportunity and reflects our commitment to environmental protection.

Petroleum products – by-products that are characterized as waste (produced by our Group or by third parties) at a certain stage of their life cycle, constitute a major opportunity for us when reused as raw materials in our production facilities or recovered for use as a fuel according to our business approach towards a circular economy.

Constantly reducing the amount of waste for final disposal contributes significantly not only to minimizing impact on the environment and human health, but also toward substantially reducing our operating costs.

Our approach

We adopt and implement circular economy principles in the design and implementation phases of our investment strategy through best practices and technologies across our product lifecycle, such as:

  • reuse of water with the aim of reducing fresh water consumption and wastewater production.
  • reduction of solid waste for landfill through investments in modern waste treatment plants and through synergies for further use by third parties, such as energy use of refinery oily waste by third parties or other waste as additives in their products.
  • developing synergies to use waste by recovering energy and / or raw materials from the Group’s numerous activities, such as the re-refining of oily waste from its Fuel Marketing company’s facilities.

By applying Best Available Techniques to the production process and operating innovative waste treatment and recovery processes, we continue to recover significant amounts of oily waste for use as raw material at our refineries, while steadily reducing the percentage of material considered to be waste and therefore not of further use.

Our ambition

Our priority is to continuously increase the utilization rate of materials and natural resources throughout their life cycle by recycling and re-using them in our production process, as well as by developing broader synergies for their use.

Our goal is to significantly reduce waste to final disposal – landfill (up to 15% by 2030).


Performance – quantitative data

Regarding wastewater and solid waste management, the overall effort to reduce waste production and maximize recycling continued in 2018 for these waste streams that is feasible. For the remaining waste streams, the best possible on-site waste management practice was applied with regard to the environment and human health.

Advanced waste treatment facilities, such as the 3-stage wastewater treatment units in the Group’s refineries, ensure the continuous improvement of our performance as presented in detail in the diagrams below that show the comparison of the amounts of produced wastewater and solid waste produced in the last six years respectively. In accordance with the past five-year trend, improvement of the basic waste and wastewater indices also continued in 2018 throughout all the Group’s activities.


Wastewater per Group facility (2013-2018)

For wastewater specifically, although there was an increase in production of wastewater by 8% in comparison to the previous year due to increased levels of operation in Elefsina refinery, as shown in the diagram below, total water consumption continued to decline while recycling and re-use percentages remained at high levels.

In particular for 2018, total water consumption decreased by 3% from the previous year, while recycling and reuse percentages increased as presented in the diagram below.

Water Consumption & Recycling – Reuse (2013-2018)

Solid Waste performance data (2013-2018)

Regarding solid waste, 2018 presented a 4% decrease in the total quantity produced in relation to the previous year. It should be noted that the largest percentage of solid waste quantities result from cleaning tanks, and therefore these quantities vary from year to year depending primarily on programmed tank maintenance and secondly on solid waste treatment unit’s availability (either in or outside the facility).

The diagram below presents various waste management methods of the produced solid waste in 2018. As evidenced, 75% of the total waste is either re-used, recycled or used further through a raw material recovery process.

Group Solid Waste by means of disposal

It should be highlighted that the utilization rate (re-use, recycling, recovery, energy recovery) of waste generated (compared to final disposal in landfills) shows an increasing trend the past years as depicted in the diagram below, with ultimate goal of stabilizing above 85%.

In addition to the industrial solid waste typical for the sector, efforts continue in order to recycle as many waste streams as possible, including paper, plastic, small or industrial-sized batteries, fluorescent lamps, electronic equipment, aluminum, etc., with active employee participation in all the Group’s facilities and offices.

Waste utilization percentage

Especially for the Group’s refining activity, the percentage of oil waste recovered and returned to the production process as a raw material for re-refining is also monitored. These quantities of waste come from both the production process and third parties. The table below shows the recovered quantities and percentages (of total throughput) from the three Group refineries, while it is worth noting that over the past five years, approximately 700,000 tonnes of oil waste have been re-refined.

Recovered Raw Materials – 2018

Facility Percentage Recovered Quantity (tonnes)
Elefsina Refinery 1.75% 112,662
Thessaloniki Refinery 0.41% 17,400

In addition to quantitative data, the treated wastewater’s quality characteristics is monitored by the hydrocarbon index in the refinery sector. In 2018, the hydrocarbon index average for the Group’s three refineries remained lower than the statutory limit by 19%.

Note that within the framework of applying the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) 2010/75/EE and Best Available Techniques (BAT) (Reference Document for the Refining of Mineral Oil and Gas – Decision 2014/738/EU for the refining sector), the Group refineries have completed the relevant investments in technical infrastructure to measure and monitor the new Hydrocarbon Oil Index (HOI). HELPE index was evaluated as representative for the refining sector and included in the referenced document on Best Available Techniques. Its yearly assessment will be presented from 2019 and onwards.

Used vehicle battery collection points at selected EKO and BP petrol stations

In order to support recycling on a national level, Hellenic Fuels and Lubricants S.A. (EKO), as of June 1st 2018 receives used batteries from passenger vehicles and trucks in selected petrol stations of its network (with the EKO and BP trade marks) across Greece. Following the proper process for their collection, transport and recycling (which reaches 95% and approaches circular economy principles), the toxic substances they include are prevented from harming the environment, but are used in production processes as useful raw material.

The selected petrol stations / used vehicle battery collection points or otherwise “Green Spots” have been included in the environmental action named “Green Mission” (an initiative of Sunlight Recycling), presented in more detail on its website.

Next Steps

Relevant actions have been initiated to further improve performance with regard to the monitored quantitative and qualitative indicators as well as in compliance to the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and the new limits according to the Conclusions of Best Available Techniques for Petroleum Refining (REF BAT Conclusions Decision).

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