As we look to the next decade, VLS is excited to be a part of the climate change solution. At the heart of this effort is our VLS Cares Committee, a crossfunctional group of key stakeholders who align business direction and decision-making with sustainability goals. The Committee’s priority is to establish reduction plans by implementing improvements for GHG emissions reduction.
Our Scope 1 and 2 emissions give us a baseline to measure progress as we explore emissions abatement interventions and opportunities. Our VLS Cares Environmental Committee is evaluating ways to improve GHG emissions performance, including potentially setting emissions reduction targets.
In 2022, our overall Scope 1 and 2 emissions increased by 21% on an absolute basis relative to 2021, which we mainly attribute to the new facilities opened and businesses acquired. At VLS, we are proud to transparently document our climate impact and do our part in the fight to mitigate climate change while continuing to provide sustainable solutions to our customers.
*In line with our efforts to ensure that our data is as complete and accurate as possible, we corrected previous calculations of Scope 2 emissions. The correction was noted due to increased quality control and greater data centralization efforts this year. The 2021 values were restated in the above table. The restatement resulted in a reduction of 6,599 MT of CO2e. Restatement is considered if changes result in a difference of more than 5% as compared to previously reported numbers.
** In alignment with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol), the 2022 GHG data includes a full year of emissions from our 2022 acquisitions regardless of when the transaction closed in 2022. Furthermore, we calculated our GHG emission in accordance with the GHG Protocol and applied market-based electricity grid emission factors.
Converting waste to a valuable energy source to help our clients meet their goals for sustainability and Zero Waste is a core business at VLS. We are an industry leader in waste-to-energy solutions for processing non-hazardous solid waste into heat, electricity and fuel, via combustion and gasification, for use in cement kilns. This fuel replaces natural resources like coal and natural gas.
Alternative Engineered Fuel (AEF) ShreddedHeat® Our Alternative Engineered Fuel (AEF) known as Shredded Heat® is in high demand to supplement and replace natural resources in cement kilns, lowering carbon intensity while providing a consistent heating value. Made of shredded non-hazardous secondary materials, the final fuel product is blended in VLS Engineered Fuel facilities permitted as recycling facilities and meets strict kiln specifications. When our AEF is used as fuel in a cement kiln instead of coal or natural gas, the kiln recovers the energy in the fuel or burns the fuel for the heat content. Once all of the consumable energy has been used, the remaining unburnable residue (ash) is mixed into the cement. By saving natural resources, Shredded Heat can cut GHG. It helps our clients meet their Zero Waste goals by reducing ash in landfills and ultimately improves the sustainability of the manufacturing industry.
Since 2015, VLS has converted
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Our Alternative Engineered Fuel co-processing stabilizes ash in cement, which leaves Zero Waste and eliminates the need to landfill. For our automotive industry customers and others setting aggressive environmental goals, VLS is committed to solving ESG challenges together.
True to our value to be innovators and problem-solvers, VLS applies best practices to provide environmentally sound waste management. Our practices include:
As a company striving to make tomorrow better by what we do today, VLS believes reducing our own footprint is just as important as helping our clients reduce their environmental impacts. To better understand our impact on the climate and help prioritize opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint, VLS quantifies our Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emission using methodologies described in the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Mandatory Reporting Rule.
VLS monitors changes in ESG reporting frameworks and requirements. As part of this, in the future we will evaluate additional disclosures and/ or indexing for the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
VLS supports our clients’ sustainability goals with innovative environmental solutions for non-hazardous industrial and chemical waste processing, railcar cleaning and repair processes, marine services and hazardous waste disposal. We seek to reduce the need to dispose of waste in landfills, and to reduce, recycle and reuse waste to the extent possible. Our marine services division recovers a higher than industry average percentage of residue (known as heel) after cleaning barges. Instead of disposing of the material, VLS recycles for beneficially reuse. VLS is committed to responsibly managing the impact of our operations on the air, water and land, while serving our clients.
We evaluate a variety of potential fuel sources such as biomass to replace coal and other natural resources, and partner with agricultural processors to develop sustainable solutions for agricultural waste. For example, VLS developed a program to collect, ship and use pecan shells and peanut hulls to manufacture a cement kiln fuel instead of sending the material to landfill. The resulting renewable fuel conserved 3,350 tons of coal in calendar year 2022.
Treating wastewater to protect local ecosystems and prevent health risks.
Industrial wastewater can contain chemicals, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotics, dyes, nutrients and many other contaminants. To keep contaminants out of local ecosystems and prevent health risks to residents, VLS provides safe, effective wastewater treatment and disposal that complies with all regulations.
Our wastewater treatment solutions apply state-of-the art technology and tailored treatment processes to help ensure wastewater is properly treated and undesirable chemicals and debris are safely removed from the water.
We thoroughly treat non-hazardous wastewater with a charged neutralization system that involves three-stage air flotation technology. Through this air flotation system, VLS can process up to 250 gallons of water in a single minute, or an average of 110,000 gallons per day. We then collect the waste drawn out of the water and send it to a Subtitle C landfill that handles hazardous waste in the safest way possible. We also offer single-stream treatment that can be customized to treat individual waste streams.
VLS acts on our commitment to environmental preservation by continually improving, investing in and innovating sustainable wastewater solutions.
Environmentally responsible waste sequestration VLS strives to provide innovative, safe and environmentally friendly waste management solutions to our customers. When we acquired waste sequestration capabilities in 2022, we acquired Texas Molecular which provides sustainable, hazardous waste deepwell sequestration. We also use waste sequestration for materials such as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Waste sequestration is considered by EPA to be a safer method of PFAS sequestration than traditional methods and is more environmentally beneficial.
We collaborated with a third-party consultant on a Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) to compare the environmental performance of end-of-life treatment scenarios of a PFAScontaining (specifically Aqueous Film Forming Foam or AFFF) wastewater stream, including waste sequestration and direct incineration. We conducted a LCA to determine the environmental performance for two impact categories: GHG emissions and energy use. The analysis revealed that waste sequestration has a significantly better performance profile for the investigated categories: waste sequestration produces a net benefit of 324 kgCO2e/m3 for GHG emissions and 2921 kWh/m3 for energy use and reduces our clients’ Scope 3, Category 12 emissions.
VLS will continue to look for ways to enhance environmental performance for our customers and our company.
To learn more about what VLS service is right for you, or to speak with someone to customize a program to help you achieve your environmental goals, contact VLS Environmental Services.