Today we celebrate the World Environment Day. This day is celebrated since 1974, as a way of spreading awareness not only to conserve our environment but to improve it. It is in the hands of individuals, society and companies to reduce the pollution we generate in our daily life and create a world that is more and more sustainable for all.
Every World Day of the environment focuses on a particularly worrisome topic, and this 2019 is dedicated to air pollution.
What do we do in WYS to reduce emissions?
Witte and Solá takes the care of the environment and the effects of pollution very seriously. That is why it has the guarantee certificate of origin GDO of Iberdrola, which indicates that the energy used comes from 100% renewable sources that respect the environment and avoids emissions of CO2 and other polluting gases.
Using the GEH calculator (greenhouse gases) of the Catalan Office for Climate Change, we calculate the emissions that would occur as a result of energy consumption.
In addition, during this year, WYS will hire energy with guarantee of origin or “green” energy also in AMFER, the company from the group that manufactures 70% of the caps for aluminum tubes. With this, the emissions due to energy consumption will descend from 214 tons of CO2 eq. to 0.
But the efforts to conserve the natural environment do not stop with reducing the emission of polluting gases, we must make efforts in other areas. For this reason, WYS has drawn a Strategic Plan on sustainability which includes different actions.
Strategic Plan for the conservation of the Environment
In addition to the use of aluminum as the main material for the tubes- this being one of the most sustainable materials- WYS considers other approaches:
- Reducing the consumption of raw materials. For example, using a solvent distiller that allows cleaning solvents to be reused.
- Searching and homologation of new more sustainable raw materials: caps and boxes made of biodegradable and/ or compostable plastic, substitution by materials from renewable resources, water-based enamels, ecomaterials…
- Reducing the generated waste and improving their separation to recycle later. WYS has a plan to reduce hazardous waste until 2021 and has implemented a system to separate the plastic film that is generated in the reception of its raw materials.
- Reducing and controlling greenhouse gas emissions with GDO energy and the use and control of a system to prevent the emission of solvents into the atmosphere, through regenerative thermal oxidation (RTO)
- Searching energy efficiency with the implementation of LED lighting, photovoltaic panels, machinery that optimizes energy consumption, etc.
- Certificate 14001 for aluminum tubes and laminated tubes, as well as for AMFER. This standard certifies environmental management systems.
- Silver Medal from EcoVadis for corporate social responsibility on issues such as environment, labor practices and human rights, ethical and sustainable procurement. The general evaluation of WYS is in 79 percentile, which means that it is equal to or better than 79% of the evaluated companies, and above the industry average.
So, in addition to reducing emissions and finding sustainable resources for Witte and Solá products, what else can be done?
Recycling and reuse
As mentioned above, a great asset of WYS is the high recycling potential of aluminum. In addition, the company has a standardized recycling process for this purpose.
The aluminum waste generated in the production process is separated according to its purity for better recycling and for subsequent revaluation.
Three groups are established:
- Aluminum 99.7% purity, produced as aluminum trimmings after extrusion and compacted in large aluminum cubes.
- Remains of printed tubes without cap, of lesser purity, although higher than 95%
- Remains of printed tubes and with caps, of lower purity.
In addition, a collection service for expired or non-usable aluminum containers is offered to the customers, for their subsequent compaction and recycling through the authorized manager.
In WYS, 80% of the generated waste, once properly separated in our plant, is recycled: aluminum, cardboard, plastic -polyethylene and polypropylene-, scrap, etc.
Likewise, municipal waste separation plants are more effective everyday and the separation of aluminum is one of the most important tasks, since aluminum can be melted and reused infinite times.
More info at http://www.aluinfo.de
The concept of the 3Rs (Reduce, Recycle and Reuse) can also be understood as respect for the environment, reduction in the use of resources and replacement of less sustainable materials. But is it enough changing the industrial processes?
Education and awareness
The change can be led by companies but in the end the responsibility is in each one of us. This is why WYS carries out different environmental education actions, from the environmental management training that takes place in the company, to monthly awareness campaigns that go as far as small daily habits such as paper consumption, waste separation, sustainable purchases, etc.
For example, in the month of May the objective has been to reduce the amount of plastic containers that are generated due to the consumption of bottled water. To achieve this goal, filtered water sources have been installed and reusable aluminum bottles distributed, promoting the elimination of plastic bottles in the offices.
During 2018 we generated 3,680 Kg of mixed containers from vending. With the elimination of plastic bottles we hope to reduce this waste by half. Estefania Escartín, responsible for the environment at WYS.