Focus on water pollution control
We ensure the safe operation of all equipment to which the German Federal Water Act (WHG) applies by having them inspected regularly by experts from a central monitoring agency. This not only ensures the necessary technical requirements for safe operation are in place but also reduces the likelihood of equipment downtimes.
The retirement and deinstallation of the electroplating plant in Cologne-Deutz significantly lowered environmental risk during the reporting year. The deinstallation of the electroplating equipment and the transfer of some of it to the new location of the external service provider were carried out in close cooperation with the local environmental authorities – a model example of collaborative partnership.
In the last stage of its expansion, the R&D testing centre’s cellars were extensively refurbished. The work was undertaken in order bring the equipment-specific water pollution controls in line with the latest technology. This predominantly involved replacing waste water pipes and recoating the floors, which have to resist penetration by substances that could pollute the water. Just under €0.2 million was invested in these measures.
Use of resources improved again
The recooling plant, which supplies the R&D testing centre with water for cooling, had previously been operated using an open recirculating cooling system. Besides the loss of water resulting from this process, the outdated machinery consumed a lot of electricity. We completed the installation of a closed recirculating cooling system and the replacement of the inefficient circulating equipment last year. Just under €0.3 million was invested in this construction work. The ongoing benefits of this measure – reduced water consumption at the Cologne-Porz site and lower consumption of electrical energy – will help to conserve the resources available to our Company in the long term.
Target for a continuous decrease in waste
The high standards of quality that we insist on for the products obtained from our suppliers require them to be adequately protected during transit. We therefore cannot do away with packaging completely. Nonetheless, we want to reduce it steadily and thereby lower the volume of waste that we expect to produce. We examine, on a case-by-case basis, whether returnable packaging systems (e.g. return of empty containers) can be used instead of non-reusable packaging and introduce them where possible. Last year, we invested €0.5 million in additional returnable packaging (2014: €1.1 million). Another example of successful waste reduction is the storage of the fuel additive AdBlue 1) in a 5m³ tank. €110 thousand was invested in the installation of this facility. In addition to a reduction in the cost of disposing of non-reusable packaging, there are savings from the reduced logistics, mainly derived from a decrease in the number of orders processed.
1) 32.5% aqueous urea solution (AdBlue® is a registered trade mark of the German Association of the Automotive Industry [VDA])