Industry adopts green solutions

Responsible manufacturing - CMA Corporation wins the 2009 Environmental Solution of the Year with Reln and Toyota highly commended.

Responsible manufacturing – CMA Corporation wins the 2009 Environmental Solution of the Year with Reln and Toyota highly commended.

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 CMA’s Meretec Ringwood plant in Melbourne has developed a way to safely process galvanised steel scrap.

The process, which took out the Endeavour 2009 Environmental Solution of the Year Award, 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 Meretec 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.

Antony Dowdle, manager of the manufacturing facility, accepted the Award on behalf of CMA and said it was exciting to win, “especially given the field of contestants”.

He attributed the company’s innovative recycling technologies and willingness to invest in new technologies as a large factor in the company’s success.

“We made a large investment, over $25m, at the time when we were only a relatively small company. It was a big step for us and this Award recognises that it has been paying off,” Dowdle explained.

“No one else in the world does this type of recycling, so it’s a world-first and this is the way of the future.

“Because there aren’t an infinite number of resources in the world, we need to be smarter in the way we use and reuse metals and materials.

“At CMA we pride ourselves on how we accomplish things in an innovative way that still allows the company to make money but still results in a better outcome for the environment.

“We invest a lot in R&D, our staff and have the courage to invest in new technologies,” Dowdle said.

Highly Commended

Reln was highly commended for the company’s ongoing commitment to the environment.

As well as manufacturing a range of water conservation products (tanks etc) it has implemented a number of strategies to reduce its impact on the environment as a manufacturer.

This includes the use and promotion of recycled materials, with the company using 250-300t of recycled plastic per a month, making it one of Australia’s largest users of recycled material; strict waste disposal methods within the companies own production processes and over 90% of the company’s product packaging is recyclable.

Plans for the future include the use of solar energy in the company’s factory and capturing water from onsite buildings to be re-used.

Reln’s environmental achievement has been to build a company turning over more than $25m a year that incorporates environmental concern into its entire service, production and product delivery stream.

The company says they believe it is a model for the future.

Highly Commended

Toyota Motor Corporation Australia (TMCA) is a leader in the Australian automotive industry.

Toyota is committed to managing its environmental foot print across the vehicle life cycle and has established targets that drive this performance.

It was this investment in the environment that saw the global car maker awarded Highly Commended in the 2009 Environmental Solution of the Year category.

Guided by Toyota Motor Corporations Earth Charter and global action plan, TMCA has established its local five year Environment Plan to 2010/11.

This covers issues across the vehicle life cycle including waste and resource use at both production and non-production facilities as well as guiding programs for dealers, suppliers and staff awareness.

The plan gives targets for reduction in resources such as CO2 emissions, water and waste.

Through the use of energy audits and investing in new technologies and equipment such as the single Regenerative Thermal Oxidiser to replace six older incinerators to aid in the management of solvent emissions, the automotive company has not only improved efficiency from 60% to 98%, but also reduced CO2 emissions by 1212t per year.

The car maker has also achieved a 32% reduction on CO2 emissions, 22% reduction in water consumption and 18% reduction in general waste per vehicle in 2007/08.