Environmental Sustainability for Companies that Process Liquids.
Environmental sustainability is high on the agenda of most manufacturing businesses. In real terms, it means using the barest minimum of non-renewable resources while not harming the planet. It’s often part of a broader commitment to corporate social responsibility. And the larger the business, the more important it usually is.
This article looks at the increasing importance of environmental sustainability to companies that manufacture, process, or pump liquids and wet product. It also looks at why many of these organisations are using pigging technology to help achieve their sustainability objectives.
The Increasing Importance of Sustainability
Many manufacturing and processing operations were originally designed around optimising costs, maximising profits and boosting output. In recent years, either because of legislation, to improve company image, or out of genuine concern for the environment, nearly all production processes take in to account the environmental impact of their activities.
A wide range of manufacturing businesses process liquids or pump wet product. For these same businesses, which range from companies making pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to household goods, food and drink, sustainable production is a priority.
Strategic and Cultural Change
A lot of businesses are taking this even further. For these, sustainability is much more than just a slogan to help demanding customers feel good about their brand. In some sectors, being seen as a sustainable company improves brand image, reputation, customer satisfaction and loyalty. Longer term, particularly in sectors such as food and beverage production, it’s a business survival strategy.
Many larger companies are already a long way down the road to environmental sustainability. Rather than a few adjustments here and there, for those taking it seriously it is both a strategic and cultural change. It’s an indelible component of their corporate social responsibility policies. Rather than basing decisions purely on cost and operational needs, businesses are also taking in to account impact on environment.
How to Improve Environmental Sustainability
There’s no shortage of ways in which businesses can improve sustainability. They can be at all levels throughout the organization; from individual employees and small teams to departments and executive management. They can include small adjustments like using LED bulbs or auto-shutdown of devices when not in use, to larger scale projects such as energy sourcing and supply. For example, the confectionery manufacturer Mars is aiming to become ‘sustainable in a generation’. Its goal is to be carbon-neutral globally by 2040. To achieve this, it has undertaken a wide range of initiatives, a notable one being sourcing energy from wind power.
Resource-Efficient Manufacturing Technology
For companies that pump liquid or wet product, product recovery and waste reduction during processing is one of the biggest, and arguably easiest, wins. Quite simply, recovering product rather than flushing it out during the rinse or clean in place (CIP) processes, directly decreases waste. It also significantly increases yields. This is because, if using a resource-efficient manufacturing technology such as pigging, the recovered product is usable. This means you can continue to process the product, or pack it and sell it. Pigging also reduces the use of water and chemicals used for cleaning.
Tangible Environmental Benefits
As well as saving money through increased yields and reduced fluid use, pigging delivers other tangible environmental benefits through waste reduction. It saves on the associated removal, transportation, treatment, recycling and waste disposal costs. In the case of many products, food in particular, waste that goes in to landfill can produce significant amounts of methane, contributing to greenhouse gases.
Saving on Each Batch Changeover
Many companies that process liquids perform processing in batches. There are often several batch changeovers each shift, run or day. Depending on the product, each changeover may need a water flush, plus one or more CIP cycles using special chemicals. After that, it may need yet another water flush to remove the CIP fluids. However, if using pigging, which will recover up to 99.5% of product, flushing and CIP is reduced (sometimes even eliminated). Therefore, the use of CIP chemicals and flush water, along with their initial costs as well as associated disposal costs, are also reduced accordingly. In addition, pigging is also extremely quick. This saves time and labour costs as well as increasing yield and reducing waste.
Significant Return on Investment (ROI)
Lower changeover times, faster processing, less water and chemical consumption. Combined with much larger product yields, these are the key reasons pigging technology delivers significant return on investment (ROI). Pigging systems also pay for themselves extremely quickly, and usually within twelve months. That’s why they make financial and operational sense, as well as helping businesses towards their sustainability objectives.
Find Out More
For more information about improving environmental sustainability in your liquid processing operation through pigging technology, please contact HPS – the world’s leading specialists in liquid product recovery.