Guidance galore from the government’s ‘best practice’ scheme

With the election over, the hiatus in the government’s publishing machine came to an abrupt end last month with a flood of good practice guides, benchmarking reports and case studies from the Environmental Technology Best Practice Programme (ETBPP).

The Programme has been working closely with industry sectors to provide companies with tailor-made environmental advice to help them minimise waste and cut costs.


In the latest batch of publications, there are four short guides written to help companies benchmark their performance against others within their industrial sector. They are:

Paint and Solvent Use in Vehicle Refinishing EG73

Environmental Performance in the Glass Industry EG78

Solvent Use for Vapour Cleaning in the Metal Finishing Industry EG74

Paint and Powder Coating Use in the Metal Finishing Industry EG72

The guides contain industry profiles and statistical information on resource use based on the analysis of results of industry sector surveys. Using the Guides’ ‘ready reckoners’, companies are encouraged to calculate their resource consumption and compare it to that of their competitors. Each guide also outlines a strategy for improving performance and refers companies to more detailed guidance provided by the Programme.

Good practice

The Programme also provides more detailed advice in the form of ‘good practice guides’ which highlight proven technology and techniques for profitable environmental improvement. These come in a number of forms, for example, in May, the series providing advice on cost-effective paint and powder coating was completed. The four Guides are complementary and are tailored to a company’s particular operation needs.

GG50 Cost-effective Paint and Powder Coating: Materials Management shows how paint and solvent consumption can be readily reduced by no-cost and low-cost good housekeeping measures and a structured approach to waste minimisation

GG51 Cost-effective Paint and Powder Coating: Surface Preparation describes how companies can improve their efficiency and reduce costs by adopting good practice in surface preparation

GG52 Cost-effective Paint and Powder Coating: Coating Materials explains how to reduce both costs and emissions by changing from conventional coatings to ‘compliant coatings’, i.e. coatings that apply the same coating load with less solvent

GG53 Cost-effective Paint and Powder Coating: Application Technology outlines how costs and VOC emissions can be reduced by maximising transfer efficiency. Guidance is given on how this can be achieved during dipping, spraying and powder coating, as well as by equipment cleaning and automation.

Cleaner technology

Another approach of the Programme is to focus on waste minimising technologies and techniques which are applicable across a range of sectors. Two such guides were published last month: one reviewing water saving devices and practices (GG67) and the other focusing specifically on membrane technologies for minimising wastes and effluents (GG54). Both provide valuable information about the technologies themselves along with detailed advice on technology selection.

Industry guide

ater use is also the focus of a new industry sector guide for UK paper and board manufacturers. Water Use in UK Paper and Board Manufacture (EG69) is a 36-page guide designed to assist paper mills that are seeking to control their water use by providing information on:

water sources and discharge routes

rates of specific water consumption and how these vary within and between the different industry sectors

the costs of water supply and discharge and how these vary within and between the different industry sectors

practices commonly adopted to restrict water consumption, notably water management techniques, good housekeeping measures and plant process modifications

barriers to further improvement.

Using the Guide, paper mills will not only be able to assess their own performance in relation to that of comparable mills, but to better understand the costs inherent in their current level of water use and to assess the scope for cost savings arising out of water minimisation measures.

Case studies

Case studies form another important facet of ETBPP’s outputs, and the two latest examples demonstrate the benefits of minimising solvent and paint use in a vehicle refinishing shop and the benefits for Iveco Ford Trucks of participating in the Thames Valley Waste Minimisation Project.

Case study GC77: by concentrating on reducing solvent and paint use by using modern spraying technology, improving work practices and establishing good housekeeping in the paintshop, Browns of Loughton has achieved net cost savings of over £10,000/yr and reduced solvent use by over 50% within a nine month payback period.

Case history CH75: membership of a regional waste minimisation club enabled Iveco Ford to obtain low-cost access to specialist knowledge on how to achieve cost savings through maximising efficiency opportunities. The company has identified total potential annual savings of over £100,000 with a payback of under five months; significantly reduced vehicle journeys, energy consumption and utility use; discovered a re-usable packaging option in line with Producer Responsibility Regulations and cut transport costs for one component by 10%.

Future practice

In addition to providing guidance on existing waste minimisation technologies and good practice, the ETBPP is also responsible for identifying gaps in the marketplace. As part of its Future Practice series of publications, the Programme has just published final results of two projects:

Reducing Costs and Wastes in Industrial Coating Operations FP76 reports on the development of a fully-contained bulk supply system for industrial coatings

Optimised Process Reduces Formaldehyde Emissions FP70 covers the development of a recipe approach to the formulation of flame retardants that gives the least emissions for a satisfactory fabric finish.

All of these publications are free of charge and available by contacting the ETBPP Environmental Helpline on 0800 585794 or e-mail: [email protected]

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