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What is CP

Cleaner Production is the continuous application of an integrated preventative environmental strategy applied to processes, products and services in order to increase efficiency and reduce risks to humans and the environment.

  • For production processes cleaner production includes conserving raw materials and energy, eliminating toxic raw materials, and reducing the quantity and toxicity of all emissions and wastes;
  • For products cleaner production includes the reduction of negative impacts along the life cycle of a product, from raw material extraction to its ultimate disposal; and
  • For services cleaner production is to incorporate environmental concerns into designing and delivering services.

Source: UNEP

CP Technique:

  • Waste reduction at source
    • Good housekeeping
    • Better process control
    • Material substitution
    • Equipment modification
    • Technology change
  • Recycling
    • Onsite recovery and reuse
    • Creation of by-product
  • Product Innovation
    • Re-/new design of product

Good housekeeping:

Good housekeeping is e.g. to repair all leaks and avoid losses by closing water taps and turning off equipment when not needed. Even though good housekeeping is simple, it requires focus from the management and training of staff.

Bette process control:

Better process control is to ensure that the process conditions are optimal with respect to resource consumption, production and waste generation. Process parameter such as temperature, time, pressure, PH, processing speed, etc. have to be monitored and maintained as close to the optimum as possible.

Material substitution:

Material substitution is to purchase higher quality materials that give higher efficiency. Often there is a relation between the quality of the raw materials and the amount and the quality of the product. Material substitution is furthermore to replace existing materials with some that are environmentally better.

Equipment modification:

Equipment modification is to improve the existing equipment so less material is wasted. Equipment modification can be to adjust the speed of an engine, to optimize the size of a storage tank, to insulate the hot and cold surface, or to improve the design of the crucial part of the equipment. One example from electroplating is to construct drip hangers to recover drag out from the plated part.

Technology change:

Technology change is to install modern and more efficient equipment, e.g. highly efficient boiler or a jet dyeing machine with a low liquor ratio. Technology change require higher investments that other cleaner production options and should therefore be considered carefully. However, the potential savings and quality improvements often pays back the investment in a very short time.

Onsite recovery and reuse:

Onsite recovery and reuse is to collect “waste” and reuse it in the same or different part of the production. One simple example is to reuse rinse water from one process to other cleaning process.

Creation by-product:

Creation by-product is to collect (and treat) “waste-stream” so they can be sold to customer or to other companies. Excess yeast from a brewery can be for instance be used for pig food, fish farming or as a food additive.

Product innovation:

Improving the products so they pollute less is also a fundamental idea of cleaner production. Changing the product is to re-think the product and the requirements to the product. If it is possible to replace a painted metal shield with a plastic for a certain product, then the environmental problem and the costs related to paints finishing could be avoided. Improve product design, re-/new design of product can result in large saving on material consumption, cost of distribution and use of less hazardous chemicals or renewable materials. Changing packaging can be just an important. The key word is to minimize the packaging and maintaining the protection of products. One example is to use recycled cardboard instead of plastic foam for protection of fragile items.