Water is of priceless value. That is why Freudenberg Performance Materials in Chennai, India, has chosen to recycle every drop of its wastewater. This is a pioneering initiative for the clothing industry in India and an important signal for the region in terms of sustainability.
India’s economy is growing rapidly, putting the country among the fastest-growing economies in the world. But India also has huge challenges to master. Rapid growth has contributed to air pollution, industrial waste, and water shortages.
Environmental destruction causes high costs:In its 2013 report “Diagnostic Assessment of Select Environmental Challenges in India”, the World Bank estimated the annual cost of environmental destruction to be around 5.7 percent of gross domestic product.
One such initiative was launched in 2017 by Freudenberg Performance Materials (FPM) in Chennai. Like many other Indian industrial companies, the site is not supplied with filtered water for the production of its interlining materials. As a result, the employees must extract groundwater and prepare it independently. To obtain the approximately 16 million liters of water required each month, up to now three times that amount of groundwater needed to be pumped and filtered. The team was not content to accept this situation, nor the accompanying large volumes of industrial wastewater and the harmful production residues it contained.
“Rapid growth has been a priority in India to date. Overall, sustainability and the protection of resources are only slowly gaining in importance. However, with a view to future generations, we have a duty to focus much more strongly on waste prevention and energy saving.”Sivasailam Gunasekaran, Managing Director, Freudenberg Performance Materials, Chennai, India
The groundwater has a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius and needs to be heated up for the production process. After being used for production, it is collected again, cleaned and then fed back into the production cycle. As it is already at the necessary operating temperature, no further energy is needed to heat it, which in turn conserves resources.
Residues in the wastewater generated during the production process are completely removed and collected. The main consumer of these solids is the cement industry, which uses them as fuel.
“To date, a process of this nature is unique among interlining production companies in India.”Sivasailam Gunasekaran