Recycling, Reusing, Reclaiming
and Reducing

For Valero, being the most efficient and reliable operator in a highly competitive industry means being the most environmentally responsible. Throughout our history, we have advanced environmental stewardship, process safety and reliability through innovation, and finding solutions by recycling, reusing, reclaiming and reducing resources, materials, emissions, energy or waste. 

What We Recycle

Valero Recycling Infographic

Every Drop Counts

Leftover crude oil is not a waste product. Every drop counts, and recovered product is converted into a wide-range of high-quality fuels.

port arthur

Recovering Usable Oil

Our refineries recover usable oil from waste materials and reprocess remaining oily solids into high-value fuel though a method called “coker injection,” avoiding generation and disposal of wastes.

St. Charles Refinery

Refining Catalyst

Valero recycles spent or used “catalyst” material – referring to agents used to stimulate chemical reactions in the production process – keeping potentially harmful waste out of landfills. The recovered metals are regenerated for use as catalyst or raw materials by other manufacturers.

Valero employee with recycled wastewater

Caustics

Certain recovered caustics, or corrosive materials, are kept out of landfills and used in our refineries to control the pH level of our wastewater or sent to other manufacturers (like paper mills) for use in their processes.

Cornfield

Sulfur Removal

A large number of our refinery units are there for environmental purposes, such as removal of sulfur. From there, the sulfur is sent for a variety of beneficial uses – for fertilizer essential for the growth of food and fiber to a product that helps purify drinking water.

Valero renewable diesel production machinery

Renewable Diesel

In making renewable diesel, we take recycled animal fats from meat packing plants, used cooking oil from restaurants and inedible corn oil from ethanol plants and turn them into a low-carbon fuel that reduces the life cycle GHG emissions by up to 80% compared to traditional diesel.

Learn More About Renewable Diesel

Valero Flare Gas Recovery System

Flare-Gas Recovery

Our flare-gas recovery units recycle gases that otherwise would have to be flared or released to the environment.

Valero employee with marine vapor recovery equipment

Marine Vapor Recovery

Our marine vapor recovery unit in Corpus Christi captures vapors emitted when loading ships with gasoline and other light products, and recycles them back into the refinery’s gasoline pool.

Valero San Antonio Headquarters building

Waste Wise Recycling Program

Valero’s San Antonio headquarters recycled 327 tons of material in 2019, and regularly recycles 20,000 gallons of water per day from its cooling system for irrigation.

Valero employee testing recycled wastewater

Water Recycling

We were one of the ethanol industry’s first operators to achieve “zero discharge” of wastewater by recovering and recycling process water and stormwater, at our Welcome plant.

Learn More About Wastewater Management

Carbon Capture: More Than One Million Tons of Carbon Dioxide

Carbon-capture technology recovers carbon dioxide that otherwise would go into the atmosphere and concentrates it for reuse. In 2013, Valero’s Port Arthur refinery became the first industrial site in the U.S. to host a large-scale carbon-sequestration project, and it remains the only U.S. refinery doing so, with more than 1 million tons captured each year.

Two steam methane reformer units, owned by a business partner that produces hydrogen for the refinery from natural gas, were retrofitted to capture the carbon dioxide produced in the process of making hydrogen.

In addition, our Jefferson ethanol plant sends 65,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year from its fermentation process to a third party for use in carbonated beverages. Valero continues to look for other opportunities in carbon capture and reuse.