Case Study

Mylan – Implementing ‘Zero Liquid Discharge’ at Manufacturing Facilities in India

Sub category of Industry Generics
Category of commitment Manufacturing
Which product(s) Small molecule
Key focus Responsible Manufacturing
Geographic focus India

Environmental protection is an essential component, and a must-have, of responsible manufacturing and it’s embedded in our manufacturing planning.

Dr Haribabu Bodepudi, Chief Operating Officer, Mylan

Health needs

One main cause of the rise of AMR is the over-prescribing and inappropriate use of antibiotics in or by humans, as well as improper disposal. Another main cause is the use of antibiotics in intensive livestock farming, e.g., to promote growth and prevent infection. A much smaller contributor to the rise of AMR is the potential release of AMR contributing compounds into the environment from manufacturing.  A 2013 study, for instance, pointed to the manufacturing effluent as contributing only 2% of pharmaceuticals found in the environment in Europe.  Regardless, Mylan has implemented advanced controls for pharmaceutical manufacturing effluent in India, home to approximately half of Mylan’s production sites around the world.

Initiative’s objective

Mylan’s use of ZLD technology helps eliminate the discharge of pharmaceutical compounds including antibiotics and keeps other APIs and AMR-contributing compounds out of the environment. ZLD technology is a proven, efficient technology for environmental protection.  Mylan’s ZLD facilities has been operating consistently and successfully since 2009.  Mylan continues to invest in and expand ZLD technology to other facilities throughout India.

Initiative’s description

A more practical approach to keeping pharmaceuticals, including anti-microbial compounds out of the environment is to prevent them from being discharged at all. Mylan began installing zero-liquid-discharge, or ZLD, equipment in 2009 to meet strict regulatory requirements, minimize wastewater contaminants, recycle wastewater for use in boilers and cooling towers, and reduce their impact on the surrounding communities. Today, all of Mylan’s manufacturing plants in Hyderabad feature ZLD technology.

Effluent from Mylan’s ZLD facilities is recycled and reused in non-potable applications; there is no discharge to the environment or to common effluent treatment plants. All solid wastes generated go to authorized disposal sites. Further, many of Mylan’s facilities are ISO 14001 certified and go through regular audits from certifying agencies.

These plants are operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week by qualified individuals and have been visited by various regulatory and environmental authorities, including the State Pollution Control Board, which often showcases Mylan’s sites to third parties as best-in-class ZLD units. The plants also have been audited by the multinational companies to which Mylan supply APIs.

All Mylan’s units apply an environmental, health and safety program for systematic management of the most important issues, including waste.


Zero Liquid Discharge Processing:

  1. Wastewater is collected and treated in various types of tanks. Microorganisms break down impurities. Solids and liquids are separated.
  2. The resulting wastewater is subject to reverse-osmosis technology. Up to 90% of the water treated can be recycled for non-potable uses, such as boilers or cooling towers.
  3. The remaining liquid is subjected to evaporation technologies – the heart of ZLD processing. More non-potable water is recovered for reuse in non-potable applications. Dried solids are collected for disposal.