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Waste Not, Want Not

Categories: waste reduction

A small change in a process or a new piece of equipment can make a big difference in reducing waste.

At the Huntsman Textile Effects plant in Mexico, a wastewater process improvement made a significant reduction in the amount of disposed solid waste. The installation of flocculation units for treating wastewater enabled the facility to separate and remove organic compounds at the entrance of the wastewater treatment plant. The new process reduced the site’s solid waste disposal by more than half.

The Mexico plant is not the only facility making significant reductions in waste. In the United Kingdom, Huntsman’s Llanelli site makes amine products used in a variety of applications. Because of its agile product wheel, the site makes more frequent changes in production. These production changes require equipment washouts that generate effluent. The weaker effluent, depending on its chemicals makeup, is either diverted to the site’s hazardous waste incinerator or to a reed bed system that organically treats the water before discharging it to a local river.

The reed bed system takes oxygen and effluent chemicals into its roots to break down up to 80% of the chemicals.

In December 2020, the site installed a new aeration system into the reed bed system. Since then, water quality has improved up to 12%. Through increased testing and better operational discipline, the site has been able to more than double the volume of effluent going to the reed beds for treatment rather than to the incinerator, enabling the disposal of washings more efficiently and in a more environmentally friendly manner.

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