In environmental matters, as in medicine, prevention is better and cheaper than healing. Since the 1970s, many efforts have been made to prevent pollution in the Basque industry, but to date these attempts have not been firmly entrenched. There are many ongoing experiences in Goierri and Alto Urola, among others. In fact, the Commercial Development Agencies UGASSA and GOIEKI of both regions, the Public Society of Environmental Management IHOBE and the Commonwealth of Waste of Sasieta have come together to promote a clean production line in the companies of these regions. To do this, they have developed a Programme and managed to bring together 18 companies from both regions in their umbrella.
As in Goierri, companies from other regions have joined the Clean Production Program. On the one hand, we have 27 companies from Alto Deba and 17 from Urdaibai, and on the other, a group of companies grouped by productive sectors, which make up a good number of 118 companies. It is not a rare figure compared to the precarious situation of other State territories. Below we explain the experiences carried out in some of these companies.
The company Bellota Herramientas S.A. de Legazpi has drastically reduced the generation of waste through a simple change of ovens: lead spatter and kiln membranes with sand, perforated crucible residues, used oils, toxic emissions of lead bath, fuel combustion gases and oil vapors, but with the new furnace of natural gas are reduced emissions of 10 tons of lead, 8 tons of oil and 2,280 tons of oil. However, energy consumption remains.
Ampo, S. Zumarraga Koop until recently threw his dirty water into the rivers exceeding the legal limits. They currently separate industrial and urban waters before being treated. Urban waters are poured into the collector and industrial waters are treated by a physicochemical system and subsequently reused. Finally, the generated sludge is managed as waste. In this way, water consumption and discharges have been reduced by 44% and 56% respectively, and the cost of use, discharge and purification has been reduced by 40%.
The oil used in the process of GSB Forja, S.A. de Legazpi was previously converted into waste. In addition, the bark and grain residues were poured into the Sasieta Commonwealth. They now separate waste and convert it into by-products to sell on the market. Thus, in addition to saving money spent on the first treatment, they have obtained another income. The overall balance would be that the recycling of a part of the oil represents a 41% reduction in virgin oil consumption, a 100% reduction in bark and bulk waste and a 42% reduction in annual costs of purchasing material, management and transport.
These examples show that improved technology is an improvement in the state of the environment and that, in turn, the business economy can be revitalized, as a lot of money is saved despite relatively important initial investments.
However, to ensure long-term competitiveness and good quality of the environment, business improvements in the environment must be considered as a continuous activity, as a circle that closes without planning first, executing later, checking later, correcting errors and restarting without ever leaving the way. That is the real commitment to environmental improvement.