A company that implements green, sustainable initiatives within the business has the future of their business, their people, and their community in mind. This is the view of KENNY PADAYACHEE, MD of Brelko Conveyor Products. It is with this in mind that the company has embarked on initiatives to ensure a greener, more sustainable future.

“Implementing green changes within all our departments was a decision that was made with the intention of providing for a better future, to create environmental awareness within our company and to set the business on a path to a more conscious mindset,” Padayachee states. “Advancing within an industry does not only mean financial growth, but growth on all levels, including sustainability.”

Becoming an environmentally conscious company does not happen overnight, and by making small changes, it will make a big difference in the future. Brelko’s early stage initiatives include:

Manufacturing and distribution

Brelko’s manufacturing and distribution department have started making use of recyclable materials and removing non-recyclable plastics for all packaging. These have been replaced with various recyclable materials such as poly-propylene bags, cardboard, or wood. Furthermore, the grade of the waste will also be added to the bags so that they can be properly recycled or discarded.

Furthermore, the company has managed to lessen its carbon footprint by streamlining its manufacturing processes and products to help eliminate wastage and storage complexity. Energy inefficiencies such as sandblasting and powder processes have been replaced with a more energy efficient spray booth, while automating processes such as the robotic welder and gluer also uses less energy output. In addition, re-processed water and oils are used in computer numerical control (CNC) machinery.

The Service Division has also implemented a paperless environment. The physical waybill has been removed and replaced with an EMS system which utilises cloud storage. Barcode scanners have been introduced into the production process, which limits and eradicates the use of too much paper while speeding up production and increasing efficiency. Another implementation of a paperless environment is the eradication of paper brochures and the introduction of USB flash drives holding the same information.

Preserving resources

When companies were forced to work remotely and an office schedule was drawn up in 2020, online meetings grew popular due to necessity. However, what this new way of meeting brought to the forefront was how cost effective, time saving and green these types of meetings are.

In order to reduce its carbon footprint, Brelko has shown its preference for online meetings over face-to-face meetings, where possible. “Due to the nature of mining businesses, where many clients are positioned on sites in remote areas, travelling time can take up an entire day for a 30-minute meeting, wasting precious fossil fuels in the process. Online meetings save fuel, time in the office and unnecessary costs,” explains Padayachee.

Brelko has also put into place water tanks for storing rainwater to be used later, as well as implemented grey water storage to be used in the gardens and for the washing of pavements and cars.

In order to reduce its reliance on the grid as well as to move to a greener energy source, Brelko has installed solar panels that supply about 60% of its daily electricity requirements, thereby saving cost and reducing its impact on the environment. “If you are not able to install solar panels, a simple act such as changing your light bulbs can reduce the amount of energy you use,” suggests Padayachee. Within the Brelko factories the 150 400 w incandescent lights were changed with 150w led lights which has resulted in less power being used per hour. Sky lights have also been installed to make use of natural light within the factory, thereby saving power.

The company has also placed great emphasis on dealing with e-waste in an environment-friendly manner. Most companies will have a fair amount of e-waste including computers, laptops, keyboards, screens etc. Recycling of all e-waste is a priority – what can be donated is, and what is unusable is sent for destruction and recycling.

“Moving towards a more sustainable, greener environment was a natural progression for Brelko taking into consideration past projects and nature conservation initiatives undertaken. These changes are a start to bigger movement, and soon brelko will reduce its carbon footprint further and offer a greener solution within the industry,” concludes Padayachee.

Mining Review Africa
By Gerard Peter – NOVEMBER 2022

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