The data presented here are taken from the RSG Ecobalance and represent a careful measurement of all incoming and outgoing flows. It should be noted, however, that not all flows are easy to measure. The release of volatile compounds from certain formulations, for instance, has to be assessed from a given percentage of evaporation. In such cases we have to rely on theoretical and empirical knowledge, such as that presented in the Information Sheet L33 Air, “Solvent Resolution” by InfoMil, verified as far as possible by tests and measurements made on the shop floor.
The data below relate to the energy and water consumed in business operations, and the materials used in the production process. The Input side of the Ecobalance records the raw materials, ancillaries and process materials, while the Output consists of products and wastes (solid waste, waste water, emissions), all insofar as they relate directly to the RSG production plants in the Netherlands. Naturally, indirect environmental aspects are also involved, such as the production of materials that RSG purchases, or the processing of waste streams from the plants. However, environmental burdens that occur elsewhere in the chain do not form part of the Ecobalance and are not shown in the data below. This does not, incidentally, mean that RSG’s concern starts only after purchase, nor that it stops after the waste has been removed. RSG is active in other parts of the chain as it imposes demands on suppliers and waste processors, and educates its business contacts. Care like this also forms part of the ISO 14001:2004 environmental management system.
The data presented here are taken from the RSG Ecobalance
and represent a careful measurement of all incoming
and outgoing flows. The figures below come from the RSG Ecobalance, which is derived from a careful record of all inflows
and outflows. It should be noted, however, that not all flows
are easy to weigh. The release of volatile compounds from certain formulations, for instance, has to be assessed from a
given percentage evaporation. In such cases we have to rely on
theoretical and empirical knowledge, such as that presented in
the Information Sheet L33 Air, “Solvent Resolution” by InfoMil,
verified as far as possible by tests and measurements made on
the shop floor.
Nearly all consumption data show a declining trend. In some cases this is due to better process control, while in others it is due to lower paper consumption. Sizes, print runs and the number of titles have decreased steadily over the last few years. Compared to 2013, 7.2% less paper was processed in 2014. This decrease is not entirely in line with the fall in the indicators. This is because despite the decrease in paper consumption, there are energy users (cooling towers, compressors etc.) that need to be powered constantly even if no production is taking place at the time. In terms of absolute numbers, the sites generally achieved good results, for example in energy consumption. Total energy consumption decreased by 7.5% compared to 2013 and waste water by 13.7%.
Ink usage has declined recently thanks to monitoring by the measurement systems. The rotogravure presses use a GMI system, which employs a photospectrometer to continuously measure the printed paper web. The inking system is managed fully automatically according to predefined density standards. The sheetfed presses use the InkStar system, which replenishes the ink in measured doses, thus economising on ink usage.
Process optimisation in the rotogravure plants is based on the use of high pigmented inks combined with changes in the process parameters.
Further efforts in increasing the pigments were made in 2014 to achieve a sharp reduction in the volume of ink consumed per ton of paper. These proved very successful, with the result that the rotogravure plants used 19% less ink on average than in 2013.
The fact that this decline is not entirely reflected in the figure was due to a slight increase in the volume of ink used per ton of product at Senefelder Misset. The precise cause of this increase is being investigated.
The summary below provides information on energy consumption in 2014 and previous years. As stated above, energy consumption fell substantially in 2014compared to 2013. This was due partly to lower gas consumption resulting from the earlier investments in regenerative afterburners and the relatively mild winter months. The use of frequency regulation on ventilation fans in the rotogravure presses also had a favourable effect. Due to the decline in the tonnage of paper processed, the decrease in energy per ton of paper was only marginal.
This summary provides information on water consumption in 2014 and previous years. The rotogravure plants use water among other things to generate steam in boilers to support toluene recovery. Water is also required for galvanic baths and domestic use. Compared to 2014, water consumption at Roto SmeetsDeventer fell sharply as a result of the updating of the osmosis plant, but it rose at Roto Smeets Etten because more steam was required to steam out and clean the carbon bed. The carbon bed will be regenerated in 2015, leading to a renewed decrease in water consumption. Water consumption at Roto Smeets Weert fell in absolute terms, but rose slightly in relation to the tonnage of paper. This was due to a fault in the float level indicator in the sprinkler installation. In addition, a cooling system runs continuously, even when printing has stopped. The reduction in the tonnage of paper processed therefore also has a negativeimpact in this case.
Ancillary materials are substances such as adhesives and bonding agents and packaging materials such as fi lm and boxes, which make up more than 90% of the total weight of the ancillary materials used. The rise in this indicator was due particularly to the increasing demand for printed matter supplied in packaging, including film, and the increased quantity of single-use pallets, which amounted to almost 50% of the total kilograms of packaging materials.
We also saw growth in the packaging of magazines with more leaflets. Although it is not evident in the indicator, it is worth mentioning that the use of biodegradable packaging films is gaining ground over the more common type. We have a broad range of 100% biodegradable packaging films that can be added directly to compost. The packaging is manufactured from renewable raw materials such as corn starch or biomass and fibrous materials such as sugarcane or palm-tree fibre. The use of agricultural crops benefits the carbon cycle compared to oil-based materials. RSG uses a fi lm that is made from starch and is 100% compostable. At the correct humidity and temperature, the film ‘decomposes’ into compost in 12 weeks. It is only 18μm thick, while normal film is 25μm thick.
As a result of a change in finishing activities (increase at Roto Smeets Deventer and decrease at Roto Smeets Etten) the overall use of process substances declined somewhat compared to 2014. Less process chemicals were also used due to better control of the quality of the process water.
Whereas all oil was previously replaced by new oil when preventive maintenance was carried out, a check was introduced to ascertain whether this was necessary. This revealed that the filters were performing well and oil is now only replaced when necessary. This led to a sharp reduction in oil consumption and waste materials.
EMISSIONS TO WATER
Waste water receives attention in all plants as part of their continuing effort to improve their production process. The water used in the plants for household purposes and the cooling towers does not come into contact with the production process and therefore remains free of the chemicals used. Most important is the waste water polluted by the production process in the RSG plants. All the waste water the plants discharge to the sewer receives additional final treatment in a waste water treatment plant, which means it complies with the permitted quality standards for waste water.
EMISSIONS TO AIR
The summary below shows the data on emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into air in 2014 and previous years. VOCs include other compounds, such as other moistening water additives and cleansers, plus toluene from the ink in rotogravure processes. Toluene is a solvent in the ink, and some of it is released during printing. This toluene-containing air is drawn off above the presses and sent to a recovery plant. The yield of these toluene recovery plants is around 99%. This indicator has also decreased further due to a reduction in the volume of toluene in the ink.
On balance, so much toluene is recovered that a considerable amount can be sold back to the suppliers, after deduction of a small amount for internal use. The possibilities to permanently cut toluene emissions from the rotogravure plants lie mainly in the use of high pigment inks and an expansion of concentration-dependent air extraction above the presses. The fact that the prepress process has ceased to use toluene, as it now uses clamps rather than glue, coupled with the use of Biosol G, has contributed to this result. The consumption of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) in the offset plants has been declining for years as the press operators use lower dosages and print on alcohol-free presses. Senefelder Misset was also able to move to completely IPA-free printing in 2014.
The RSG wastes can be classifi ed into three types:
- Hazardous waste
- General process waste
- Recyclable waste
98% of the RSG wastes can be recycled. The waste is separated and collected by a qualified company specialising in sustainable waste management. Waste management goes further than just collecting, processing and/or recycling all types of waste. It is also about reducing the quantity and cutting the costs of waste. This is done by better separation at the source, optimisation of theprocessing and recycling. Reintroducing waste materials into the production cycle helps counter resource depletion and cuts CO2 emissions. RSG also collects hazardous wastes in this same sustainable way, having them processed to innocuous residues and valuable raw materials, thus lessening their impact and hazards to mankind and the environment.
The volume of industrial waste fell slightly due to efficient use of materials, good separation of waste flows and process efficiency. Part of the decrease is also due to a change in regulations governing the definition of ‘waste material’. A recent legal judgement means that returnable packaging is no longer classified as waste. The volume of hazardous waste disposed of in 2014 rose very sharply. That was mainly because a toluene distillation unit at Roto Smeets Deventer was found to be defective and no longer serviceable at the end of 2013. After an analysis of the replacement costs, internal hours and removal, it was decided not to replace this unit. All the toluene to be distilled is now collected by an external company and recycled. This indicator consequently differs greatly from that of previous years. The volume of recyclable waste, such as paper, scrap metal and copper, rose slightly, particularly due to an increase in shortterm orders with more set-up waste. Various old machines were removed to provide storage space, so the disposal of scrap metal increased.
General process waste
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