Markku Eljaala, Quality Manager, Peiron Oy
1.) What would you say are the main environmental issues / challenges relating to metals production and processing today?
The foundry generates a considerable amount of waste sand, which is becoming more and more expensive to dispose of (waste fees and taxes). With mechanical regeneration, the alkaline phenolic no-bake system typically achieves only 70-80% internal recycling in the foundry sand process. This means that for every tonne of iron / steel produced, 1-2 tonnes of new quartz sand has to be procured, and the same amount typically has to be delivered to a landfill. Increasing the recycling rate through more efficient regeneration process will significantly reduce the amount of waste sand generated.
2.) Why is sustainability in foundries important?
Reducing the amount of waste sand reduces the disposal cost.
3.) How can foundries move towards a circular economy?
It is both economically and environmentally sensible to regenerate your own waste sand. With the help of FinnRecycling regeneration process, the waste sand is recovered to match the properties of the new quartz sand, which means that the amount of waste sand generated can be reduced by up to 80-90%. This also makes it possible to achieve cost savings of 20-30% compared to the use and disposal of virgin sand in landfills. The cost savings, of course, depend a lot on what is the cost of energy, waste charges and the purchase of new quartz in that area.