During April, we at Neles have been active in the global struggle against climate change. We have undertaken many environmental actions with the initiation of our special environmental month, from Earth Hour on March 27, continuing through April. Our actions have focused on saving energy, increasing recycling, and tapping into the circular economy.
Saving electricity and energy
All employees were invited to join Earth Hour and turn off lights for one hour. We also focused on electricity use in our facilities. Saving electricity and energy consumption is at the core of our environmental sustainability actions targeted at waste reduction waste, water usage and emissions at each manufacturing site.
One of the concrete actions to save electricity was to replace the old multi-metal light bulbs with LED lighting. Combined with the optimization of ventilation, energy consumption has decreased by 24% since 2016, supporting the ISO 50001 certification.
With the rollout of the fresh new Neles brand, around 305 kilos of old Metso-branded workwear were responsibly recycled with the aid of the Globe Hope Zero Waste service concept in Helsinki, Finland. If burned, this amount of fabric would have created 6.942 kilos of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of 24 travelers flying on a round trip from Helsinki to Munich, Germany. Instead, when reused and recycled, the greenhouse gas emissions savings totaled 7.462 kg, which corresponds to the daily CO2 emissions of 264 Finns.
Fifty percent of the old workwear was reused after the removal of the Metso logos, and 50% ended up in wastewater treatment, industrial wipes, and waste-to-energy use.
This way, the old workwear was exploited effectively and in an environmentally friendly manner. When thinking about the raw materials like water and the manufacturing processes needed to produce this fabric, it makes sense to give it a new life.
Additionally, the electronic waste generated at our Fergus Falls site from the shorter life cycles of equipment like computers, electronics, or mobile phones, was responsibly disposed of and donated to the local community while keeping the e-waste out of landfills.
A pallet of used electronic equipment like non-working or no longer usable equipment like computer mice, computer keyboards, outdated telephones and nonworking monitors was picked up at the beginning of April by PCs for People, a non-profit organization that redistributes refurbished electronic equipment to the local community. Every component that is not reused is recycled in an environmentally responsible way in the United States.
At the Helsinki Plant, one of the many sustainability actions started in February is to take part in the Deposits for Trees scheme initiated by Lassila & Tikanoja, a company providing cleaning and repair services, with the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. The core in this act is to collect all recyclable beverage container waste from the factory premises and the office, and donate the sum of deposits directly to afforestation projects via the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. Currently, the afforestation projects are being implemented in Madagascar.
It is calculated that one euro is the equivalent of one tree, which will collect 1,000 kg of CO2 from the atmosphere during its lifetime.
Increasing circular economy
Throughout the value chain, we recycle, repair and reuse our products and parts responsibly in line with circular economy initiatives. By designing and developing products that are long-lasting with a modular structure, we extend the life cycle and decrease our environmental impact. We provide a service stocking model for customers, allowing us to place a repaired product back in the customer’s production process to give it new life in another solution.
An example of the circular economy from our own production is the use of recycled materials in castings and the recycling of production waste like metal scrap from machining.
We are committed to finding new opportunities within the circular economy by partnering with responsible suppliers and partners to turn our waste or by-products into usable resources or energy for someone else.
Please note: this text was published prior to Neles' merger to Valmet.