The NSW Environment Protection Authority has $5 million in matched funding to help implement cleaner production practices over the next three-years.
Funded by the NSW Government, the program offers matched funding to industry associations, individual businesses and clusters of businesses to improve efficiency in the work place and reduce impacts on the environment. "Cleaner production means putting every aspect of your business under the microscope to uncover opportunities for environmental improvement – from energy and water use to raw materials, product design and waste," said EPA Director-General Lisa Corbyn. "It means moving beyond meeting the minimum requirements under legislation to improve your local environment and save money too." Corbyn said the Industry Partnership Program allowed the EPA to partner industry in environmental leadership. "We're offering matched funding to help businesses undertake environmental assessments and develop and implement cleaner production plans that make protecting the environment part of their core business," she said.
"There is also funding available to explore opportunities to develop new technology and redesign products that have potential benefits across industry. It's an exciting venture that we think will make a big difference to the environment." Corbyn said more than 10 applicants had already received funding under the scheme, including the Boating Industry Association, the Composites Institute of Australia and the Motor Traders Association. Funding opportunities are available in November 2002 and March, July and November of 2003.
Case study: Integrating quality, safety and the environment
Brodan manufactures metal strips used in the building, automotive and electrical industries locally and overseas. The plant specialises in melting, casting, rolling and slitting brass, copper and bronze strips, running 24 hours a day. Brodan was privately owned until 1990, and is now a division of Crane Group Limited, a multinational company dealing in non-ferrous metal products, plastic pipeline systems and plumbing supplies. The company employs 45 people at its factory and offices in Brookvale, Sydney. Since the mid 1990s Brodan has achieved major improvements in its operations by adopting a "systems" approach to environmental management, and integrating this with quality, health and safety and risk management. What did they do?
Audit performance and develop an EMS
Brodan started by commissioning consulting engineers to conduct an environmental audit, and now have an audit conducted every two years. Consultants were also engaged to develop an Environmental Management System (EMS) based on international quality standards.
Foster environmental responsibility
New employees are trained in environmental issues as part of their formal induction. A special "welcome" edition of the in-house magazine includes information about environmental practices, such as how to reduce stormwater pollution.
Monitor and report on performance. Weekly reports track environmentally-sensitive areas and alert the company of there any breaches of internal or compliance standards. Monthly management reports include environmental reporting.
• Responsibility for keeping the site clean and tidy is written into employee job descriptions.
• Council signage about stormwater practices has been erected near stormwater drains to help remind employees about good housekeeping.
• Street frontages are swept daily to collect litter.
• Housekeeping is audited weekly, with particular emphasis on complying with water legislation.
• Potential liquid pollutants are stored in bonded areas. Material safety data sheets are kept near liquid stores.
Clean up processes and operations. Although the basic operating technology has not changed, many measures have been implemented to improve energy efficiency or generate less pollution.
Improve waste handling & disposal. Liquid waste is collected by licensed waste contractors. Recycling of paper, cardboard and timber packaging has been introduced wherever possible. Only putrescible waste and small amounts of non-recyclable materials are sent to landfill. Upgraded effluent treatment systems improve the quality of waste discharged to the sewer.
Adopt the Greenhouse Challenge. Brodan took up the Greenhouse Challenge in partnership with the Australian Greenhouse Office. Action plans include reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, reviewing the efficiency of compressed air systems, installing variable speed equipment to reduce energy consumed by fume extraction fans, replacing lighting with more energy-efficient fittings, and recovering furnace heat for reuse in other processes.
For more information on Cleaner Production visit www.epa.nsw.gov.au/cleaner_production or phone the EPA's Cleaner Industries Unit on (02) 9995-5348
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