An assessment of the Pietermaritzburg Waste Minimisation Club and the waste minimisation opportunities on a coil coating plant.
This study involved an assessment of the Pietermaritzburg Waste Minimisation Club (PWMC) during 2001, and a waste minimisation audit conducted at two coil coating lines. Waste minimisation is the reduction or elimination of waste at source4 • It is often achieved through waste minimisation clubs which comprise a small number of companies, generally in the same geographicaI area, that are interested in reducing waste 1"711 . The success of the PMWC was evaluated in terms of the degree to which members implemented waste minimisation principles. Two questionnaires were used to assess the success of the club. These indicated that although the training material gave the members a good understanding of the basic principles of waste minimisation, the material has not given the members enough practical information to implement a waste minimisation programme in their companies. The main barriers to waste minimisation identified include production pressure, operational constraints, lack of human resources and a lack of management time. The drivers for waste minimisation were financial savings, improved plant utilisation and improved environmental performance. Coil coating is a continuous process where a coiled sheet of aluminium is cleaned, pretreated and coated with paint. The flow rates, compositions and costs of all input and output streams to the cleaning and pretreatment sections were gathered from operators or measured. The data were collected over a three-month period to obtain a representative sample, and then analysed to determine waste minimisation opportunities using mass balances, monitoring and targeting, a scoping audit and a true cost of waste assessment. The scoping audit was found to be the most useful technique because it accurately prioritised the waste minimisation opportunities but required a relatively small amount of data for its application. However, the scoping audit underestimated the savings that could be achieved at the coil coating department and therefore the 'scope to save' percentages, which were developed for United Kingdom industries, need modification to better reflect South African industry. Opportunities for waste minimisation on Coil Coating Line 1 (CCL1) included reducing the water consumption, reducing the acid and chromium raw materials consumption, and finding a cheaper energy source for heating the process and rinse tanks. Potential fmancial savings of R116 000 and environmental savings of 18 200 kL of water or effluent per year were calculated for CCL1. The chromium and acid effluent treatment and solid waste disposal are the main areas for waste minimisation on Coil Coating Line 2 (CCL2). Savings could be achieved in these areas by using roller application ofthe chromium pretreatment rather than spray application, and by preventing a leak of chromium pretreatment into the acid process and rinse tanks. Other savings can also be achieved by operating the chromium process tank as a fed-batch process, and operating the alkali and acid process tanks as continuous processes at the specified chemical concentrations and with recycle of the rinse water (dragout). The total financial savings that can be achieved on CCL2 are R5.3 million, and potential environmental savings are 31 600 kL ofeffluent per year.