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A wheel great way to reuse hazardous waste

One of the most interesting elements of industrial symbiosis is that it brings together companies from completely different sectors and backgrounds to create a network of like minded companies open to the concept of sharing resources and knowledge to improve commercial performance and reduce the environmental impacts of business.

In many cases this unique networking process brings together some unlikely commercial allies. One such example sees Telford based DENSO Manufacturing U.K. Ltd, a world leading supplier of advanced automotive technology, systems and components teaming up with Coventry based Mil-Ver Metals in a scheme which sees hazardous waste being recovered and reused to manufacture aluminium alloy wheels for cars.

This scheme is a classic example of industrial symbiosis in action. DENSO Manufacturing U.K. Ltd. in Telford produces air conditioning units and engine cooling systems for the automotive industry. A waste generated in this manufacturing process is a Potassium Aluminium Fluoride based material, which is classified by the Environment Agency as a Hazardous Waste and therefore is subject to high disposal costs and must be handled with the utmost care.

Having implemented a zero waste policy at the site, DENSO was keen to explore sustainable ways in which this hazardous material could be reused – especially as it was costing the company £30,000 to dispose of the 15 tonnes of the material collected each year.

DENSO has been a member of NISP since early 2007 and as such alerted the West Midlands' team to its problem. The NISP team searched through its national resource monitoring database – the only one in the UK – and found a potential link with Coventry based Mil-Ver metals, a leading producer of primary base and secondary aluminium alloy ingot.

A series of meetings involving the two companies and NISP took place to investigate the feasibility and logistics of transporting and reusing the material. Mil-Ver metals' foundry just outside Coventry has the very latest in rotary furnace melting technology placing the company at the forefront of European aluminium recycling. Subsequently NISP facilitated the scheme which sees Mil-Ver Metals collecting and reprocessing 15 tonnes of hazardous material into aluminium ingot which is then sold on and used to manufacture high quality alloy wheels.

DENSO Manufacturing U.K. Environment Officer Manel Roura, said: “DENSO is continuously looking to improve its commercial and environmental performance – and thanks to NISP we are able to do both.”

Peter Laybourn, NISP Programme Director said: “Although we're looking at a relatively small amount of material in this case, the fact that its hazardous waste means that identifying a reuse solution is extremely important. Not only for DENSO, but for other manufacturers of automotive systems and components who could also be reducing their storage and disposal costs.”

For more information about this scheme or about NISP in general contact Maggie Morrissey on 00 44 1543 423541/ 00 44 7968 997141 or email maggie.morrissey@nisp.org.uk.

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