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Low-waste and waste-free technologies: definition, description, problems and principles
Low-waste and waste-free technologies: definition, description, problems and principles

Problems of the harmful effects of industry on the environment have been worrying environmentalists for a long time. Along with modern means of organizing effective methods for the disposal of hazardous waste, options are being developed to minimize the initial damage to the environment. In this regard, the reduction of waste emissions allows not only to reduce damage to nearby infrastructure facilities, but also to increase the economic efficiency of enterprises. True, non-waste technologies also require significant contributions in the course of implementation. The introduction of such programs often affects production stages, forcing managers to reconsider approaches to ensuring technological processes.

non-waste technologies

What are zero-waste and low-waste technologies?

In a broad view, wastelessness does not at all imply a complete rejection of the development of secondary products that remain after the main production process. That is, the definition of waste-free technology may imply such an organization of the work of the enterprise,at which the most rational consumption of natural resources and energy is carried out. But this is still a general definition of this concept. If we take a strict approach to the consideration of the issue, then waste-free technologies should be presented as a general principle of organizing the production process, according to which raw materials are used completely in a closed cycle.

Low-waste technology deserves special attention. In essence, this is an intermediate link that allows you to transfer the enterprise to a full-cycle production mode at minimal cost. At the facilities where the low-waste concept was implemented, there is a level of harmful impact on the environmental background that does not exceed the permissible sanitary standards. However, if non-waste technologies involve the complete processing of secondary raw materials, then in this case, long-term storage or disposal of materials is also allowed.

How is zero waste measured?

low-waste and waste-free technologies

To begin with, it should be noted that the full implementation of a completely waste-free production is not always possible. There are entire industries in which enterprises and plants, for various reasons, cannot leave the status of low-waste. In this regard, the estimates of non-waste deserve attention. In particular, experts use coefficients that allow determining what percentage of waste an enterprise cannot recycle and sends for recycling or storage.

For example, low-waste and waste-free technologies in the coal industrymore difficult to implement than in other industries. In this case, the waste-free ratio varies from 75 to 95%. You should also remember the very essence of the introduction of technologies that reduce the impact of harmful substances on the environment. Taking into account this aspect, we can talk about the need to determine the proportion of useful substances that are contained in waste. Sometimes this figure reaches 80%.

Principles of Technology

Wasteless technology is based on several principles, the main ones being:

  • System approach. Assumes that it is necessary to consider the production facility from the point of view of minimizing waste without separation from the regional industrial infrastructure.
  • Cyclicity of threads. According to this principle, there must be some kind of circulation of the raw materials used, as well as the energy that ensures their processing.
  • Integrated use of resources. This principle provides for the maximum consumption of raw materials and energy potential. Since any raw material can be considered complex, all of its components must be extracted during production cycles.
  • Limitation of environmental impacts. We can say that this is the main idea, in accordance with which low-waste and waste-free production technologies are being developed in various industries.
  • Rational organization of production. In this case, it is supposed to optimize technological processes in order to maximize the savings of material resources, energy costs and financial investments.

Process of zero-waste technologies implementation

Any action aimed at changing the production process involves the development of a project. In this case, it may be assumed to create drainless technological systems and water circulation cycles on the platform of efficient filtration methods. Similar schemes, for example, are used in the electroplating industries. One of the most effective tools for processing secondary raw materials is the introduction of waste-free technologies that exclude the formation of secondary products in principle. To do this, additional stages of processing and purification are introduced into the production processes. It is also practiced to create separate industrial complexes that purposefully implement closed systems with the provision of processing material flows.

Wasteless in metallurgy

waste-free production technology

In the process of designing plants that will process non-ferrous and ferrous metals, the widest range of means to ensure non-waste is used. For example, liquid, gaseous and solid wastes can be involved in processing. Cleaning agents are also used as a basic tool for minimizing processed products. In addition, low-waste and waste-free technologies can operate not only within the framework of the metallurgical enterprise itself. Mining and processing plants, where large-tonnage dump waste is developed, are engaged in the production of ready-made building materials. In particular, they make from wastelaying for mines, forming wall blocks and laying road surfaces.

Wastelessness in agriculture

This area of ​​economic activity is the most flexible in terms of the use of funds that ensure the recycling of resources. This is due to the fact that most of the agricultural waste contains products of organic origin. For example, zero-waste technologies may appear in the form of reuse of compost, manure, sawdust, leaves and other materials. Further, this waste is used to form a raw material base for fertilizer, which saves the cost of non-renewable resources.

introduction of non-waste technologies

Energy efficiency

In today's energy industry, experts are guided by the widespread use of technological methods of fuel combustion. This may be the use of a fluidized bed, which helps to minimize contaminants in the exhaust gases. Also, waste-free production technology in the energy sector is manifested in the development of developments aimed at cleaning gas emissions from nitrogen and sulfur oxides. Approaches to the technical equipment of enterprises are also changing. Dust cleaning equipment, for example, is operated with high efficiency, and the resulting ash subsequently enters the construction industry as an ingredient in concrete solutions.

low-waste and waste-free production technologies

Problems of non-waste and low-waste industries

The main part of the problems that arise in the process of transition to waste-freeproduction is due to the contradiction between the desire to minimize processed products and maintain the efficiency of enterprises. The inclusion of new stages in production processes with the utilization of secondary raw materials, for example, reduces the economic performance of industrial facilities. Also, the problems of non-waste technology are associated with the impossibility of processing a number of waste products. This mainly applies to the branches of the chemical industry, in which the volumes of hazardous gaseous wastes are increasing. However, there are reverse examples, when the introduction of waste-free production projects contributed to an increase in economic efficiency. In the same mining industry, enterprises sell rocks with characteristics that meet the requirements of construction plants as secondary raw materials.

Zero Waste Management

non-waste technologies at enterprises

Integration of systems that allow optimizing production capacities in terms of minimizing the formation of hazardous waste also implies the improvement of management processes. Enterprises are required to organize a whole range of functions that allow them to regulate the formation, use and placement of processed products. At the same time, it is important to take into account that non-waste technologies at enterprises affect not only the direct sources of secondary raw materials production, but also further consumers. Raw material storage and disposal systems are being improved to improve the efficiency of subsequent waste management.


waste-free resource-saving technologies

Despite the decline in production during the crisis, the harmful impact of industrial enterprises on the environment remains at the same level (at best). This is explained by the fact that managers seek to save, including on environmental costs. Nevertheless, non-waste resource-saving technologies allow solving problems of this kind, offering the means of more rational consumption of the original raw material base. In other words, measures to reduce waste come into effect already at the first stages of the technological process. This makes it possible not only to optimize the volume of the final output of the secondary product, but also to save on initial costs associated with the purchase of resources for production.

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