• Choose Language
  • Our environmental impacts

    Besides carbon dioxide and energy, our main potential environmental impacts are from emissions to air of particulates, oxides of nitrogen, and sulphur and to water of hydrocarbons and suspended solids. We monitor all of these impacts, together with waste treatment and report annually on all of these.

    Emissions to air

    Our most significant emissions to air besides CO2 are particulate material (including fine particulates such as PM10s), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Continuous measurement and modelling around our steelmaking facilities helps us to understand our contribution to airborne levels of these pollutants and to reduce these.

    We have extensive investment programmes in place for ongoing improvements to air quality. Schemes include extensive site greening, segregation of clean and dusty activities, installation of dust suppression systems and road infrastructure modifications, while in Ijmuiden, we are investing €98 million in an advanced bag filtration and gas reactor system for improved emissions control at the sinter plant.

    Water

    Relatively large volumes of water are used in making steel, but most of this is for non-contact cooling and returned to the source with no loss of quality. Our European steel-making operations are all located close to large water sources for this reason. The precise volume of fresh water consumed is difficult to quantify because our sites cover large land areas and capture substantial amounts of rainwater.

    We continually monitor water discharges for suspended solids and hydrocarbons and maintain very low levels of these pollutants.  However, we are continually improving and between 2009/10 and 2010/11, we reduced hydrocarbon discharges by over 15%.

    Waste

    Our most significant by-product, in terms of volume, is blast furnace slag. This has now become a valuable raw material for the concrete industry, where it is used as a clinker substitute, thus reducing mineral extraction and CO2 emissions at the same time. Steelmaking slag is used extensively in civil engineering and agricultural applications, and tar and benzole from our coke-making processes are used within the chemicals industry. In 2010/11, Tata Steel Group successfully marketed over 8 million tonnes of these by-products.

    We apply advanced techniques at all our integrated steelworks to extract valuable components such as iron and carbon from a variety of residual materials arising in the iron and steelmaking processes. In particular, these materials are recirculated through sinter plants, BOS plants and coke ovens. During the year under review, over five million tonnes of residual materials were internally reused through our processes, replacing primary raw materials and reducing our direct CO2 emissions and those from other parts of our supply chain.

    Some waste from our operations is unavoidable, but our aim is to ensure that as much as possible is reused, recycled or recovered. In 2010/11, we recorded lowest amount of landfilling and the highest amount of reuse, recovery and recycling through third parties since Group-wide reporting began. Disposal of waste to landfill accounted for only 4.4% of the total stream of residues arising at our sites. This encouraging trend reflects the improvements made as a result of a focus on material efficiency, especially at our integrated steelmaking sites.