Skip to content

Natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce all over the world. We can only operate sustainably if we use the raw materials available to us efficiently. This also includes the responsible handling of waste – because it contains valuable resources that can be returned to production. In the health sector, strict hygiene requirements apply to the materials used and to the safe disposal of hazardous waste. With clear internal guidelines and comprehensive controls, we ensure that these are complied with.

Our goals and ambitions

Through systematic waste management, we aim to reduce our material consumption and minimize the amount of waste produced. To this end, Helios Spain, for example, is pursuing the ambition of increasing the recycling rate of packaging materials in the clinics by primarily using paper and lightweight packaging. The aim is to prevent metal, plastic, or brick packaging from ending up in the waste mix in order to promote the recycling of these materials.

Our approach

For Fresenius, as a healthcare Group, professional, safe waste disposal goes hand in hand with the requirements of hygiene and sterility in production processes and treatments in hospitals. Our approach extends from the selection of suitable disposal containers to cleaning and sterilization procedures and the occupational safety of our employees in the professional disposal of hazardous, e. g., infectious, waste. The waste must not pose a danger to our patients or the environment, either.

The handling of waste in the health sector is strictly regulated. All locations are subject to the respective local regulations and laws. In addition, internal requirements for waste management are included in our environmental standard operating procedures. As the business models of our business segments are different, Fresenius conducts waste management on a decentralized basis. Responsibility for that lies with the management of the production sites, local EHS (Environmental, Health, and Safety) managers, or dedicated waste managers. Individual risks are assessed independently and, where necessary, internal guidelines for dealing with waste are established. The responsible persons provide training to their employees and carry out checks to ensure that the standards contained therein are adhered to.

Where necessary, local training courses on waste management are conducted. Internal and external audits of our waste management systems and of the commissioned waste disposal companies can be conducted by the local organizations to ensure compliance with the applicable regulations.

Waste disposal

Responsibility for the disposal of waste in accordance with the applicable local regulations lies with local organizations and healthcare facilities. All sites are required to separate their waste according to local, national, and industry-specific regulations and to store the waste under consideration of measures to protect the environment, e. g., to avoid contamination. Non-recyclable waste is disposed of by composting or incineration or is sent to landfill.

In the healthcare products market segment, we record waste volumes generated at our production sites, logistics centers, compounding centers, and the further ISO 14001-certified organizations and categorize them by waste type and disposal method. Waste is mainly generated as a by-product of production processes or in the downstream value chain as packaging material of the product containers in hospitals, private households, or nursing homes. This includes both non-hazardous and hazardous waste, i. e., solvents, cytostaticsCytostaticsSubstances ​that ​slow ​or ​stop ​the ​growth ​of ​cells, ​including ​cancer ​cells, ​without ​killing ​them. ​These ​agents ​may ​cause ​tumors ​to ​stop ​growing ​and ​spreading ​without ​causing ​them ​to ​shrink ​in ​size., or antibiotics.

Plastic waste represents the largest portion of classified non-hazardous waste in production. Hazardous waste is, to a large extent, processed and reused for a different or similar purpose. To a large extent, the internally generated waste is recycled. Non-recyclable hazardous waste is mainly incinerated and a large part of it is led into energy recovery.

In the healthcare services market segment, we differentiate between (non-hazardous) hospital-specific waste and (potentially) hazardous waste. No special requirements are placed on the collection and disposal of the former from an infection prevention perspective. Together with wound and plaster dressings, underwear, disposable clothing, and diapers, for example, they make up the largest proportion of the total waste generated. Hazardous waste is specially disposed of by professionals.

Waste reduction and recycling

If the design of a product is under the control of an ISO 14001-certified organization, as part of the life cycle perspective, the design phase must take environmental aspects into account, for instance, sustainable, e. g., recycled components or packaging. The influence of the organization on pharmaceutical products can be limited due to the importance of patient safety and product quality requirements.

The healthcare products market segment takes environmental aspects into account during the development phase and is increasingly placing its strategic focus on more environmentally friendly products.

There are also various projects in our hospitals to improve the reduction, recycling, avoidance, and reuse of waste. In Germany, for example, reusable crockery can be borrowed free of charge from all Helios-owned canteens, double-sided printing has been introduced as standard and the use of recycled paper in printing devices in the administration. We were able to reduce food waste at 15 pilot locations in Spain in the reporting year by implementing efficiency measures.

Share Price

Data is delayed by 15 minutes.

Share Price Information


Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA
Group ESG