Tools and Practices

Here are some key tools and practices to consider for establishing Cleaner Production in your enterprise;

Environmental managemen system can provide a company with a decision-making structure plan to bring cleaner production into the company’s strategy, management and day-to-day operations. As a result, EMS will provide a tool for cleaner production implementation and pave the road toward it. Thus, integrating cleaner production technologies with EMS will help the system to approach zero pollution and maximize the benefits where both CP benefits and EMS benefits will be integrated together.

Good housekeeping: Good housekeeping is to repair all leaks and avoid losses by closing water taps and turning off equipment when not needed. Even though good housekeeping sounds simple, it requires focus from the management and training of staff, including regular checks and monitoring. Good housekeeping can also contribute to safety in the workplace by preventing accidents, such as on slippery floors or through gas explosions.  Insulation of pipes and repair of steam leaks and steam traps; e.g. a 1 mm hole in a steam line at 700 kPa will lead to a loss of 3000 L fuel oil/year (Prasad et al. 2004).

Better process control: Better process control is to ensure that the process conditions are optimal, with respect to resource consumption, production and waste generation. Process parameters such as temperature, time, pressure, pH, processing speed, etc. have to be monitored and maintained as close to the optimum as possible.

Material Input substitution: Material substitution is to purchase higher quality materials that give higher efficiency. Often there is a relation between the quality of the raw materials and the amount & quality of the product. Material substitution is also replacing existing materials with those that are environmentally friendly.

Equipment modification: Equipment modification is to improve the existing equipment so less material is wasted. Equipment modification can be done to adjust the speed of an engine, to optimize the size of a storage tank, to insulate the hot and cold surface, or to improve the design of a crucial part of the equipment. Replacing the star-delta connection with a variable speed on the motor as is saves more energy.

Technology change: Technology change is to install modern and more efficient equipment, e.g. a highly efficient boiler or a jet dyeing machine with a low liquor ratio. Technology change requires higher investments then that of other cleaner production options, and should therefore be considered carefully. However, the potential savings and quality improvements often pays back the investment in a specific period of time. An example is replacing batch pasteurizers with continuous process pasteurisers incorporating plate heat exchangers with less waste and counter current heat regeneration reducing energy consumption (UNEP 2000).

Onsite recovery and reuse: Onsite recovery and reuse is to collect “waste” and reuse it in the same or different part of the production process. One simple example is to reuse rinse water from one process to another cleaning process. One example from dairy processing is to install heat recovery unit to recover heat from the return leg of the cooling water system for preheating milk. It can reduce the consumption steam.  There are many different methods and ways to perform such modification.

Production of useful by-product: Production of useful by-product is to collect (and treat) “waste-stream”, so they can be commercially used or sold to customers or to other enterprises. For example, excess yeast from a brewery can be used for pig food, fish farming or as food additives.

Product Modification: Modify the product characteristics in order to minimize the environmental impacts of the product during or after its use (disposal) and to minimize the environmental impacts of its production. Through this change, however, the product will maintain the same attributes. Improving the product design or a re-/new design of the product can result in large savings on material consumption, cost of distribution and use of less hazardous chemicals or renewable materials with less environmental impacts. Changing packaging can also be an important process of product modification. The key concept is to minimize the packaging by maintaining the quality. One example is to use recycled cardboard instead of plastic foam for protection of fragile items.

Figure: Cleaner Production Practices; Source: Cleaner Production Manual, IVAM, 2008

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