There has been a large push in recent years for companies to improve on their environmental impact. Studies on the impact of manufacturing on the ocean have shown that there are approximately 24.4 trillion pieces of microplastic present in the ocean. Microplastics, fragments of plastic less than five millimetres in length, come from a variety of places, but up to 21% of microplastic come from the paint and coatings industry.

In October the British Coatings Federation CEO, Tom Bowtell, wrote an article responding to a report funded by the European Commission on the impact of paint on the ocean.

The report claimed that the paint and coatings industry contributed around 58% of microplastic pollution present in oceans. This number is significantly higher than previous reports that estimated the paint industry’s contribution as between 9.6%-21%. The sources of these microplastics are varied: external coatings, boat painting and sanding, and road markings are some sources.

Tom goes on to cite a literature review produced by the World Coatings Council that provides a review of 36 key documents. It concludes that the evidence needed to provide an accurate estimate on the percentage contribution of the paint industry regarding water pollution isn’t available. The WCC report attributes this lack of data to difficulties in quantifying the effects of exposure to paint-created microplastics in both humans and the environment.

Tom’s response to the EC funded report is largely focused on microplastics originating through commercial use, however consumers are not the only producers of microplastics. The WCC report also details methods of microplastics removal that paint manufacturers can and do use, such as sedimentation, coagulation, and filtration. This demonstrates a clear effort by the paint and coatings industry to reduce the amount of pollution that is released into the ocean from manufacturing plants.

Despite the anomalous findings of the European Commission’s report, Tom acknowledges that the paint industry does play a role in water pollution and highlights campaigns being run to increase consumer awareness of the impact of paint on the environment. While reaching out to consumers and teaching them ways to decrease how much paint product they release into waterways is fantastic, there are other ways in which paint and coatings manufacturers can decrease their contribution to water pollution.

How Pigging Can Help

Product recovery, also known as ‘pigging’, can be extremely effective in reducing the amount of water used by manufacturers, especially in terms of pipeline cleansing. The HPS pigging system recovers up to 99.5% of product from fill pipelines, resulting in decreased quantities of waste product and water required for cleaning.

Rather than flushing pipelines with water and chemicals to remove residual product the HPS product recovery system sends a uniquely designed projectile (the ‘pig’) through the pipe. The pig then pushes any excess product through the pipe, which can then be used for processing or packaging.

The environmental benefits of pigging

By reducing the amount of waste product that needs to be transported for either disposal or treatment HPS pigging systems can help lower your carbon footprint and reduce the amount of microplastics that are released into the environment.

The environmental benefits of pigging go far beyond reductions in water usage and product waste. Pigging contributes to a decrease in the use of chemicals, reduced sludge creation, and reduced carbon emissions.

Read more about how a HPS pigging system can reduce your carbon footprint

How can HPS help?

HPS can provide pigging systems for both new and existing pipelines and can accommodate a wide variety of pipe diameters and lengths. The longer your pipeline the more product you have to lose, and our primary goal is helping you to recoup your product in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner.

The HPS dual-pig system is the leading technology used by paints and coatings manufacturers for simultaneous product recovery and pipe-cleansing. The dual-pig system, specifically designed for use by paint and coatings manufacturers, uses two pigs separated by a “slug” of water or solvent, with the first pig pushing the excess product through the pipe and the second pig ensuring a thorough flush of the pipe.

Find out more about the dual-pig system

Find out more

HPS is a trusted provider of pigging technology throughout the world, used by PPG, Akzo Nobel, Sherwin Williams, and many more.

Have a look at our savings calculator to find out how much money a pigging system will save you.

Or, send us a message to find out how we can help you to reduce your water and product wastage:

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