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Bluesign is the Right Sign
Sep '08
The ecological safari begins at the very start with the design of the fabric. Or to put it in other words: in the material mix which, in keeping with bluesign, may contain no yarn, dye, chemical or other auxiliary agent which could be harmful to humans or the environment.

The eco-trail then takes us to production. As far back as 1997, Schoeller installed the first oxidation reactor, the only one of its kind worldwide.

With it, Schoeller was able to reduce the residue in the waste water by 25%. 1999 saw the start of a long term project aimed at consistently and holistically optimising the use of resources (thermal and electrical power and water) and constantly reducing the exhaust air emissions.

Among other measures, a modern natural gas powered vapour return system was installed and the pipes for steam and hot water for energy transport renewed.

The replacement of heating oil and liquid gas with natural gas resulted in an annual 900 tonne reduction of the CO2 emissions following the changeover to bluesign.

Recovery of energy through cooling processes in the dyeing plant and the operation of the tentering frame is also given special attention.

This recovered energy is used for heating water for industrial use and for heating the building. The sophisticatedly engineered system reduced the overall energy consumption by approximately 20%.

In a textile company, water is a very important topic. How high is consumption and what are the levels of residue in the waste water bluesign examines this ecological footprint.

Through the installation of new dyeing machines and a new solvent treatment plant in the year of the changeover, Schoeller was able to reduce the fresh water consumption – already at a low level compared with other textile companies – by a further third.

In addition, the new dyeing machines considerably reduce the use of chemicals and auxiliary agents while maintaining the same high production quality.

What happens with the waste water after each production step? At Schoeller, all the waste water is divided into two branch currents.

Water with a low level of residue is sent directly to a special collecting tank from which daily samples are taken. Waste water from this collecting tank goes directly into the local ARA (waste water treatment plant). The lower the level of residue in the water, the lower the waste water fees charged by the ARA.

Waste water from dyeing machines and pre-treatment with a higher level of residue (ca. 5%) is collected in special tanks and then, following filtration, directed to the waste water reactor.

The follow-up model of the prototype commissioned in 1997 stands directly in the production plant. The process used is largely autothermal and eliminates up to 90% of the organic chemical oxygen freight by oxidative means as well as the non-biodegradable content of the waste water.

The little remaining freight is disposed of in the local VCA (waste incineration plant – see also “Made in Switzerland“). The settlement pit for cooling water is no longer in use and shows just how 'clean' production is.

It lies outside of the production building and is similar to a biotope. The Office of Environmental Protection takes ground water samples here. To date, contamination has never been found and it should be noted that Schoeller has been producing here since 1935.

The chemical cleaning plant through which approximately 80% of all goods pass ensures that most of the ecological burden normally arising from yarn and fabrics is captured and does not make its way into the waste water channel.

Here we come across a further important “ecological footprint”, through the extraction of the auxiliary agents, the plant reduces the level in the exhaust air in an exemplary fashion.

The reduction of residue in the exhaust air is made by two exhaust air treatment plants which were installed in 1996 and 2007.

These two plants not only eliminate the dirt particles through washing and electro filtering, but also serve to permit the recovery of significant energy quantities.

The decision to gear Schoeller's production to the bluesign standard was more than right. Regular screening on site proves the ecological success of production in accordance with the bluesign standard. bluesign is the right sign.

bluesign technologies AG

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