Endeavours: Industry solutions for a green future

Finalists for this year's Endeavour Awards in the environmental solution of the year award, sponsored by Atlas Copco, have been announced. Manufacturers are reaping financial and social benefits by reducing their impact on the environment.

Finalists for this year’s Endeavour Awards in the environmental solution of the year award, sponsored by Atlas Copco, have been announced. Manufacturers are reaping financial and social benefits by reducing their impact on the environment.


Project: Glaze Reclamation System

CAROMADORF is a designer and manufacturer of commercial sanitary-ware and bathroom products.

As part of the company’s production process of its glazed vitreous china product involves robotic spray carousels. An inherent consequence of this process is a significant amount of ‘overspray’ glaze, which is estimated at 40% of total glaze usage. Current daily glaze usage is 6t per day, 300 days per year.

The company then decided to investigate ways in which the glaze can be recovered and implemented a reclamation system.

On a daily basis, the system now recovers 1.8t of reusable glaze from captured overspray. Furthermore, the reclamation is generating 9,000L of water per day of suitable quality for reuse in the facility.

The energy required to operate the system has been offset by the reduction in glaze production activities.

Water conservation 9,000L of water per day is recovered from overspray processes, including the cleaning of glaze storage containers. All water output from the Xtract system is collected and re-used in cleaning processes and the production of virgin glaze — which were previously supplied from mains water. This water saving of 2,700kL per year would have traditionally been discharged to the sewer.

The mineral constituents of glaze include zinc and barium compounds. Reclamation has minimised the exposure of these compounds to landfill soil (by over 70%) and employees (factory and waste management).

CMA Corporation

Project name: Meretec zinc recycling system

DESPITE the benefits of recycling being well known, manufacturers continue to disregard a large volume of galvanised steel every year.

Traditionally, recycling industry practice has been to burn the zinc off the scrap metal, a costly process, both financially and environmentally.

Until now, there has been no ecologically sound or environmentally safe way to recover and recycle zinc from steel, but now a new technology at Meretec’s Ringwood plant in Melbourne has developed a way to safely process galvanised steel scrap.

The process involves adding steel to the reactor drum where hot caustic removes the coating from the steel, which is then washed and mixed with a rust inhibitor and purified. The solution is electroplated in cells where the zinc is grown and harvested. The solution is then returned via the evaporator and washed, and dried for packaging.

Once the scrap metal is loaded onto the Meretc processor, the rest of the process is entirely automated.

The hazardous waste diverted from landfill saves 10,000,000t annually and according to the company, the process results in high quality, low carbon steel scrap that is free from all contaminants and potential pollutants. Every tonne of steel de-galvanised by the system is recycled into new castings or steel, saving hundreds of kilograms of iron ore, coal, limestone and zinc.

Recycled Glass Solutions

Project: Recycled Glass Solutions

RECYCLED Glass Solutions (NSW) is a joint venture company between Australian Glass Technologies and WSN Environmental Solutions.

The business produces high value glass products from glass fines which are a by-product of the sorting of co-mingled recyclables. Glass fines would have previously been disposed of in landfill or used as a low value replacement for sand. The business produces a range of higher value products such as abrasives, material for brick and tile manufacture and water filtration.

The project uses proprietary equipment to manufacture high quality products from a material that has in the past been considered to be waste.

The project at this stage has the capacity to prevent approximately 50,000t of glass fines each year in Sydney from going to landfill.

The end products have a flow-on effect to industry through reducing imports of abrasives, better water filtration properties than existing materials and better performance criteria as an additive in brick and tile manufacture. The incorporation of recycled glass in manufacturing often has a significant benefit in energy consumption and reduced use of raw materials.

Symbion Consumer

Project: Water Efficiency Management

HEALTH product manufacturer Symbion Consumer has three major manufacturing sites with Qld’s Yarraman Place the largest water user out of the company’s facilities with peak consumption approaching 20ML in 2004-2005.

Approximately 70% of the water is utilised in operational areas with the remainder used in building services, such as toilets, kitchens and showers.

In 2005/2006, production efficiency was increased but internal wastage and rework levels were high, resulting in record high batch production and consequently water use.

The company submitted a water efficiency management plan to Brisbane Water committing to reducing water consumption by a further 25% over two years.

Key areas were targeted to improve the company’s knowledge of water use points and reduce high use areas.

A facility review was conducted to identify areas for improvement and a number of actions were identified including reducing water usages in the tablet coater and IBC wash clean processes, install a number of water monitoring devices such as sub meters on all high use points, install water tanks to capture and use rain water and communicate actions to all staff onsite.

Over a three year period the facility has reduced water consumption by more than 50% by targeting efficiency improvements with minimal capital expense. FY08 average water use per month is below target and is likely to achieve further reductions.

Water use in the tablet coater has been reduced by 50% per wash. This was achieved by analysing the minimum water required to achieve the same validated result.

The changes have also reduced energy consumption and increased productivity.

Tuftmaster Carpets

Project: Waste and Energy Management

TAKING a holistic view in the approach to energy, water and materials usage, Tuftmaster has implemented a comprehensive EMS.

It provides the structure to report, remediate and improve processes in all departments of manufacturing and quantifying the savings made by reducing the over use of virgin raw materials but also selling off waste streams.

Incorporated within the company’s EMS is an energy and water management plan based on a five year improvement schedule. A fundamental part of the EMP and EIP is to reduce all GHGe from the equation. This begins at the ground level from receipt of goods, transport, company vehicles through to the manufacturing process of finished product. This will be achieved by complying with the ISO 14064 Standard section 1, 2 and 3, with the company’s environmental objective of being carbon neutral by 2015.

This is an integral part of an internationally recognised EMS. Auditing is carried out regularly and all staff are encouraged to submit ideas as to how they think processes can be revised. Many solutions have been found to problems outstanding by simply asking the staff directly involved in the process how they feel the issue can be remediated.

The company’s backing line is currently being upgraded and the water usage in this department will be reduced by approx 80% .The recycled water will go through a cooling system. The water once cooled will be redirected back into the backing line. The costs involved in this conversion are minimal but the % of water saved is considerable.