LONDON Signing up to Envirowise's big splash challenge will enable electronics companies reduce their water usage and save money. Companies receive free industry-specific guidance on water minimisation including an on-site water and waste review and help with implementation and evaluation.
Last year, PCB manufacturer Artetch Circuits, based in west Sussex, took part in the challenge. Before joining the big splash, Artetch had already taken action by reducing the water flow to a number of different rinse water systems.
The big splash has helped the company make additional savings by focusing its attention on measuring water consumption, highlighting the fact that the flow to its static rinses and counter-flow rinses can be further reduced.
Alistair Murray, Technical Manager at Artetch, said, “Despite a 25 per cent increase in surface area processed, we have already reduced our water consumption by around 10 per cent and effluent production by around 8 per cent, saving nearly £3,000. We are currently reviewing where it would be possible to re-use rinse water, which we hope will lead to even greater savings in the future.”
Martin Gibson, Envirowise programme director, added, “The results from last year’s big splash challenge are really encouraging. More than 100 businesses directly benefited from our help, actively changing their practices and achieving excellent savings in the process. This year, Envirowise is committed to helping UK industry bank even more money through simple no or low cost water conservation techniques that could cut annual water consumption by up to 30%.
The fact is that many businesses simply do not think enough about their water usage, and as a result miss out on big annual savings. To get started, Envirowise recommends considering the following low cost measures:
Turn taps off fully and replace leaking hoses and worn tap washers for a quick and cheap way of saving water. In staff washrooms, push-button taps can use up to half the water used through conventional taps and help prevent floods in event of a sink becoming blocked.
Check your water system for leaks, which can be expensive and cause damage to your building. Take meter readings regularly and carefully – if you are paying for water that you cannot account for you may have a leak.
Reduce your need for mains supply water by looking at ways you could recycle ‘grey water’ such as cleaning equipment, vehicles or outside areas.
To reduce the amount of clean water used in every toilet flush, fit a water displacement device into cisterns – these are often available free of charge from your local water company.
Run a staff competition to identify water-saving ideas or organise a brainstorm. Consider appointing ‘water wardens’ to take responsibility for water minimisation measures in each area of your site.
The big splash campaign is delivered by in partnership with Water UK, United Utilities, Yorkshire Water, Anglian Water, Scottish Water, South East Water, Southern Water
With water a scarce resource in many parts of the UK, the electronics sector continues to waste water unnecessarily, literally pouring money down the drain. Something as seemingly harmless as a hose left running to drain all day can cost a business as much as £46,500 annually – enough to buy a top of the range sports car. Even a single dripping tap can waste up to 26 litres of water a day, at a cost of more than £750 a year.