Circulate the economy

Eco-design, reuse, recycling, recovering waste, sharing—the circular economy is defined through a variety of concepts which, while not new, are leading to unprecedented business models that are challenging traditional ways of thinking. As an expert in recovery and transformation, Veolia is committed to this approach, which turns the waste of some into resources for others.


Closed circle partnerships

Veolia is a crucial player in this new economy, which generated revenue of €3.5 billion in 2015 for the company. To deploy the circular economy, Veolia needs to develop collaborative relationships. It is not enough just to recover waste—a connection needs to be made with clients ready to buy the recovered waste as secondary raw material. In France, Veolia is working with the Castorama banner (Kingfisher group), the leading French retailer of DIY and home improvement tools and supplies.

WEEE: win-win all round

In February 2016, Veolia, SEB and Éco-systèmes formed an industrial partnership that will see the first complete circular economy loop for small household appliances. The waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) collected by Éco-systèmes is recovered by Veolia as a recycled secondary raw material, which is then used by SEB to produce new appliances sold in stores. The first application will be a steam generator. Veolia operates the largest WEEE processing plant near Angers, in France, where more than 55,000 metric tons are treated each year with a recovery rate in excess of 90%.

Reduce footprints

The circular economy is already a reality for many materials, including paper, scrap metal and aluminum, and new sectors are being added. In Milwaukee, USA, Veolia treats the wastewater of the city’s population of 1.1 million. Each year, the treatment sludge becomes 50,000 metric tons of Milorganite (Milwaukee Organic Nitrogen), a compost that is used as fertilizer for the region’s green spaces. To limit its energy impact, Veolia uses a local source of renewable energy: the biogas from the Emerald Park landfill. This biogas reduces the plant’s carbon footprint by 50,000 metric tons of CO2 a year.

Antoine Frérot, Président-directeur général de Veolia

"Only 1 billion of the world’s 4 billion metric tons of waste generated each year are recovered."
Antoine Frérot, Chairman and CEO of Veolia.


Innovation driver

Veolia’s research and innovation programs aim to improve sorting performance and develop transformation processes for secondary raw materials. For example, the household packaging sorting center in Amiens, France, recovers 6% more household packaging than conventional processes.


Contribution to our CSR commitments - Emissions avoided

Veolia is committed to helping combat climate change (commitment 2). Rostock, Germany, Veolia recovers 1 billion plastic bottles a year, thus avoiding the annual emission of 110,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent.


Milk into Water

At its dairy plant in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico, Nestlé no longer extracts any water from natural resources in this region suffering from water stress. Using a process that is unique in the world, Veolia recovers “cow water,” the waste fluid extracted from milk when it is powdered. After treatment to ensure compliance with potable water standards, the water is fed back into the production process. At the end of the process, it is then used for non-food purposes, such as cooling, garden watering and cleaning.
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Mining metals on the street

Platinum, palladium, rhodium—all these precious metals are extracted from the 165,000 metric tons of dust swept up from Britain’s streets each year and recovered in Veolia’s Ling Hall plant. In all, 90% of the materials find a second lease of life.


Find out more

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