Saint-Gobain makes cast iron savings in waste

Iron technology supplier Saint-Gobain PAM UK has embarked on an ambitious waste reduction drive over the past 12 months, which has seen recycling rates increase by 16% to an overall rate of 81%.

The firm, which is part of global materials company Saint-Gobain, is looking to reach a 93% recycling and recovery rate by year end in line with its zero waste to landfill commitments.

It is implementing a number of initiatives to achieve this including working with a local tyre reprocessor to recover 1,200 tonnes of steel from used tyres.

Saint-Gobain PAM’s foundry products in the UK are made from 97% recycled materials, of which 10% is tyre wire from end-of-life vehicles. It also recovers up to 5,000 tonnes of iron and steel from other British steel producers through their historic aggregate piles.

According to the company’s managing director Paul Minchin, some of the most significant improvements in waste management can be seen at its sites in Holwell and Telford.

“At the Holwell plant, we have reduced waste being sent to our on-site landfill by 83% in 2011. This was achieved through a range of initiatives, such as introducing reusable refractory ladle linings and selling used sand for building block manufacture,” he said.

“Our Telford site has also dramatically reduced its waste. In 2009, 3,200 tonnes of waste were sent to landfill at Telford, whereas 2011 saw this cut to 848 tonnes.”

Any iron not suitable for recycling in-house is sent for re-melt to produce pipe moulds for the manufacturer’s European facilities.

Minchin also points to a significant project involving the Holwell Cupola furnace, claimed to be the largest of its kind in the UK.

Here a wet scrubber system was replaced with a new control system to deliver a new dry bag filter solution, helping to meet stringent emissions reduction targets. A heat exchanger was also fitted to recover waste heat from combustion gases.

According to Minchin, these steps have dramatically reduced water usage, electricity, raw materials and refractories to landfill.

Other notable achievements include a 4.3% reduction in carbon emissions between 2010 and 2011, with a target of 7% by 2014, plus a water usage reduction of 18% since 2009 across the company.

Last week the company also increased its reliance on renewable energy after signing contracts with three anaerobic digestion (AD) plant operators.

Maxine Perella

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