War on waste

The latest water conservation scheme from Envirowise has made a Big Splash, with 12 companies learning how to stop pouring their profits down the drain. Tom Idle reports

It’s not often that companies are praised for their environmental performance – especially by a government minister. That, however, is exactly what happened one sunny July morning aboard HMS Belfast in the heart of London. Twelve companies received praise, applause and recognition from Environment Minister Elliot Morley for their water conservation tactics.

“Using water resources more efficiently,” said Morley, “can directly benefit the bottom line – whatever the size of the business. These companies are leading the way.”

The companies in question took part in the first year of the Big Splash challenge – a project co-ordinated by the government-funded programme Envirowise to encourage businesses to save water.

The ‘winners’ (in every sense) include household names such as BT, the Co-Op and Indesit, as well as a range of smaller businesses from across the manufacturing sector. Organisations have reported reducing water consumption by as much as 33%, with savings of up to £180,000 – and all through the implementation of simple water management measures under the watchful eye of Envirowise.

The body is urging more businesses to take the plunge and reduce their water usage to save money. Something as seemingly harmless as a hose left running to drain all day could, on an annual basis, cost a company as much as £46,500. Even a single dripping tap can waste up to 26 litres of water a day, at a cost of more than £750 a year.

Among the companies recognised for their water conservation results were: Arenson Group Ltd, BT Group, Genzyme, Headland Foods, Indesit Company, Marstair Ltd, SCA Packaging, Stead McAlpin, Treves UK and the Co-Operative Group.

Artetch Circuits, a PCB manufacturer in West Sussex, had a history of water reduction prior to joining the Big Splash challenge. However the programme has helped them make further savings by focusing its attention on measuring water consumption and highlighting the fact that the flow to its static rinse and counter-flow rinses can be further reduced.

Meanwhile, SPS Technologies paid attention to the cooling water used on a heat treat furnace, where readings of flow and coolant temperature were taken to identify the optimum flow rate of the mains cooling water.

According to Martin Gibson, Programme Director at Envirowise, “The results from the Big Splash challenge are really encouraging. More than 100 businesses directly benefited from our help, actively changing their practices and achieving excellent savings in the process.

“This year, Envirowise is committed to helping UK industry bank even more money through simple no- or low-cost water conservation techniques that could cut annual water consumption by up to 30%.” n

For more information visit www.envirowise.gov.uk/bigsplash.

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