Posts Tagged ‘industry’
The Steelcase Node chair is rated Silver by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. Courtesy of Steelcase.

The Steelcase Node chair is rated Silver by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. Courtesy of Steelcase.

The London-based Institute for Sustainability recently announced that it has received planning permission to build a groundbreaking cross-business demonstration project based on the cradle-to-cradle (C2C) model at the London Sustainable Industries Park (LSIP) in Dagenham, East London.

Cradle to cradle is a design model based on sustainable systems that benefit humans and the environment, that re-use all materials and that produce no waste. Although the concept goes back to earlier research, C2C gained currency in 2002 with the publishing of Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by chemist Michael Braungart and architect William McDonough. Read more

Credit: McConnell Franklin, CC BY 2.0

Credit: McConnell Franklin, CC BY 2.0

Water is the most abundant compound in the universe and covers 71 percent of the earth’s surface. Yet society makes use of only a small percentage. Most of water on the earth by far is saline or seawater. Freshwater makes up only 2.5 percent of the total. Most freshwater is locked in glaciers, ice caps, and underground, with only about 1.3 percent of it available as surface water.

Industry competes with agricultural and municipalities for this precious resource. And businesses compete among themselves for its use. After all, it’s a limited resource, and consumption is bound to be driven by its relative scarcity. Read more

Pulp and paper mill in Canada. Credit: Alex Vye, CC BY-SA 3.0

Pulp and paper mill in Canada. Credit: Alex Vye, CC BY-SA 3.0

As with many industries, water stress is pushing the pulp and paper industry to improve its water and wastewater treatment processes. According to a 2013 market study by research firm Frost and Sullivan, the industry’s high reliance on water makes it vulnerable to water risks. “Pulp and paper manufacturing is characterized by a high water footprint,” says the study, which adds, “water stress in particular regions may increase the cost of water as well as result in supply limitations.”

The industry “has high volume and concentration of chemicals in wastewater streams,” resulting in regulatory and reputational risks for firms in this sector, as well as financial risks around fines and cleanup costs in case of polluted discharge. Read more

Wastewater plant. Credit: Rjgalindo

Wastewater plant. Credit: Rjgalindo

Water is a mission-critical resource for industrial firms, and wastewater treatment makes up an important component of many company’s water-management strategy. Increasing water scarcity and stress, along with ever-stricter government regulation, compel industrial firms to seek out ever-more-efficient systems for treating their wastewater.

How do manufacturing and industrial firms treat their wastewater? Although we’re discussing industrial wastewater treatment here, the best place to start is describing conventional treatment processes. Nearly any industrial plant will need to process sewage — graywater and human waste — either through an in-house plant or by feeding it to a municipal facility. For any enterprise large enough to need its own wastewater facilities, the default system would be more or less based on the three stages of primary, secondary, and tertiary treatment. Read more

Credit: EPA

Credit: EPA

There’s little question that the world is facing a serious water crisis, and industry is right in the middle of it, competing with agriculture and municipalities for a share of the globe’s scarce water resources. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says industry uses 18.7 percent of available water worldwide and 43 percent in North America. To confront water risks, some companies are pursuing a strategy known as “green infrastructure” or “GI.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), green infrastructure is a planned, strategic approach that manages water in a natural way. Normally when we talk about infrastructure, we think about elements like buildings, roads, bridges, energy sources, power transmission, and communications lines — “gray infrastructure.” But, according to The Conservation Fund, the concept of “infrastructure” can be expanded: “Just as we plan networks of roads, we can plan networks of open spaces and natural resources that connect communities and regions,” says the organization, which works to form collaborations around development of green infrastructure. Green infrastructure can be practiced at various scales, including that of a site, city, or region. Read more

Credit: Mark Devine, CC BY-SA 2.0

Credit: Mark Devine, CC BY-SA 2.0

Decision-makers in industrial firms might be tempted to think of water management in terms of inputs, processes, and outputs. You take in water from an outside source like a river or reservoir; you move it around your facility for cooling, cleaning, flushing toilets, and so on; then you treat the wastewater and discharge it out the back end.

But the emerging global water situation is forcing companies to look at their water more as an ecosystem service and as a scarce resource that has to be managed in cooperation with the larger community and across sectors. Read more

Pump house at a water treatment plant in Toronto, On. Credit: Loozrboy, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Pump house at a water treatment plant in Toronto, On. Credit: Loozrboy, CC BY-SA 2.0.

The management of water on the Earth is an increasing challenge, as global population grows and consequently puts greater demand on a limited resource. According to the GreenFacts Initiative, freshwater accounts for only 2.5 percent of water on the planet, and most of that is frozen in glaciers and ice caps. Only a small fraction is available on the surface for use by living things, including humans.

Water is an essential resource for economic activity, and industry is a substantial user of water. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that industry uses 18.7 percent of available water globally and 43 percent in North America. The U.N.’s World Water Development Report says that “Water scarcity is viewed as an increasing business risk, with industrial water supply security dependent on sufficient resources,” a problem that is compounded “by geographic and seasonal variations, as well as water allocations and competing water needs in a given region.” Read more

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