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Sustainability Definition Example In Today’s Industry

Sustainability Definition Example In Today’s Industry

Sustainability isn’t just a buzzword in today’s industry - it’s redefining how manufacturers do business.


The definition of sustainability refers to the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It involves balancing environmental, social and economic considerations to ensure that resources are used efficiently, ecosystems are preserved, and social equity is upheld.


In today’s industry, companies are increasingly recognizing that by embracing sustainable practices, it’s not only good for the planet, but good for business. Let’s take a look at some of the ways sustainable practices have entered industry and how your business can foster long-term resilience in an ever-changing global landscape.

What Sustainability Looks Like In Industry



Sustainability in industry today includes a range of practices and initiatives aimed at minimizing environmental impact,sustainability definition example conserving resources, promoting social responsibility and ensuring economic viability. In fact, more companies are prioritizing sustainable manufacturing through conserving energy, preserving natural resources and reducing the amount of waste they generate.


Let’s take a look at some of the ways sustainability has come to the forefront in industry today:


  • Renewable Energy Adoption: Many industries are increasingly investing in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydropower to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and lower greenhouse gas emissions. By the end of last year, the wind energy industry was expected to experience a 15% year-on-year growth.
  • Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy: Industries are striving to optimize resource use through practices like waste reduction, recycling and reusing materials. The concept of a circular economy, where products and materials are reused or repurposed instead of being disposed of, is gaining traction.
  • Green Supply Chains: Companies are working to make their supply chains more sustainable by partnering with suppliers who adhere to environmentally responsible practices and reducing the carbon footprint of transportation and logistics.
  • Eco-friendly Manufacturing Processes: Manufacturers are implementing cleaner production methods, such as lean manufacturing and green chemistry, to minimize waste, pollution and energy consumption. For example, USA-based Chrome Deposit Corporation made simple changes in the company’s manufacturing processes by adjusting boiler settings and repairing minor gas line leakages. In the end, the company cut its natural gas consumption by 12%.
  • Transparency and Reporting: There is growing emphasis on transparency and accountability, with many companies disclosing their environmental sustainability efforts and performance through sustainability reports and initiatives like the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
  • Innovation and Technology: Research and development efforts are focused on developing innovative solutions and technologies to address sustainability challenges, such as clean energy technologies, sustainable materials and efficient waste management systems.
  • Product Lifecycle Management: Industries are increasingly considering the entire lifecycle of products, from design and production to use and disposal, to minimize environmental impact at every stage. This includes how any waste you generate is handled.


For manufacturers that generate hazardous waste, such as solvents, it is particularly important to prioritize sustainable options. Hazardous waste poses significant risks to human health and the environment, including soil and water contamination, air pollution and harm to wildlife and ecosystems. 


With the development of technologies like waste-to-energy systems, solvent recycling and wastewater treatment, there is an opportunity for manufacturing facilities to minimize their environmental impact and maximize their environmental protection.

Sustainability Through Managing Your Waste Streams



Waste To Energy


Through energy recycling, businesses can help preserve the natural resources of the planet. At Samex, the waste to energy plant has a capacity to prepare up to more than 40 tons of alternative fuels per day by recycling hazardous solid waste. 


This safe process recovers the energy value of waste streams generated in industry and reuses it for purposes that can be beneficial in other ways, such as in industrial kilns to produce cement. Waste materials that can be converted into alternative fuels include items that are contaminated with paints, solvents, resins, oils or grease, including:


  • Solids
  • Rags
  • Filters
  • Wood
  • Plastic
  • Cardboard


Creating alternative fuel not only reduces the consumption of fossil fuels, but also reduces combustion and emission of pollutants while reducing the amount of solids that are sent to landfills. 


Solvent Distillation


Many industries generate spent solvents as part of the manufacturing process, from chemical manufacturing tosustainability definition example pharmaceuticals, paints and coatings, electronics and others. 


Given solvents' hazardous nature and potential environmental and health impacts, industries must adopt sustainable options for managing these spent solvents. 


Sustainable practices in solvent management involve implementing efficient recovery and recycling systems to minimize the impact of your company’s waste generation. By embracing sustainable options, you can reduce your environmental footprint, mitigate risks to human health and the ecosystem, and contribute to a more sustainable future.


Many solvents, including aliphatic, aromatic, halogenated hydrocarbons, alcohols, ketones, and esters, can be recycled, reprocessed, and reused. Solvent distillation is an environmentally responsible and economically viable method for recycling these spent solvents.


What is solvent distillation? Solvent distillation involves taking a liquid or vapor mixture of two or more substances and separating it into its component fractions of desired purity. 


This process separates the solvents from other substances through the application of heat. The basic principle is to heat a liquid mixture containing solvents, causing the solvent to vaporize. The vapor is then condensed back into a liquid form, resulting in the separation and recovery of the solvent.


Here’s how the solvent distillation process occurs:


  • Heating: The liquid mixture, which includes the solvent and other components, is heated to increase the temperature of the solvent.
  • Vaporization: As the temperature rises, the solvent undergoes a phase change from liquid to vapor, leaving behind the non-volatile components.
  • Condensation: The solvent vapor is then cooled and condensed back into a liquid form, resulting in the separation of the solvent from the original mixture.
  • Collection: The condensed solvent is collected, and the remaining substances (residues) are left behind.


The use of heat drives the separation process by offering the energy needed to vaporize the solvent. The specific temperatures and conditions employed in solvent distillation can vary based on the solvents' properties and the separated substances.


Solvent distillation is a sustainability definition example because it reduces the need for virgin solvent production, minimizes hazardous waste generation and conserves valuable resources by recovering and reusing solvents, thereby promoting circular economy principles and reducing environmental impact.


Wastewater Treatment


A staggering 80% of wastewater is returned to the ecosystem without being treated or reused. As environmental demands grow, water recycling will continue to play a significant role in the planet’s overall supply. 


That’s why more facilities are turning to recycling plants that not only treat wastewater, but use it as part of their recycling efforts and industrial processes.


Wastewater that can be treated at Samex’s facilities includes acid water, alkaline water, water with hydrocarbons and water with heavy metals. To create a circular system in which nothing is wasted, Samex operates a water treatment plant on the same site. After going through the various treatment processes, the result is commercially clean, nonhazardous water that is repurposed to brick manufacturing. There is no discharge to the sewer system. Any solids recovered in the filter press are directed to the waste to energy section of the plant. Everything is used, nothing is wasted. 

Key Features Of A Sustainable Plant



When choosing a waste to energy or solvent distillation plant to receive your facility’s waste, there are some key features you should look for to maximize your efficiency and meet your sustainability goals. 


A Plant Should Embrace Energy-Efficient Technology


While the waste to energy and solvent distillation processes are environmentally-friendly themselves, the technology a plant uses can make the process even more sustainable. 


For example, at Samex, our solvent recycling process minimizes environmental impact by using energy-efficient technology that increases recovery volume. Our state-of-the-art solvent distillation technology is designed to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions while enabling the recycling and sustainable processing of chemicals. 


A Plant Should Focus On Quality


The highest quality plants perform initial distillation tests on sampled solvents to determine their operating and recovery parameters. This process helps to ensure that businesses receive the quality they expect. 


Solvent distillation plants should only operate within the parameters agreed upon with their clients and should perform continuous testing and sampling throughout the process to check the quality of the recovered solvent.


Plants should also use the best technology available during the waste to energy process. This ensures maximum efficiency in energy conversion, minimal environmental impact and adherence to stringent emission standards, ultimately promoting sustainable energy production while mitigating the harmful effects of waste disposal.


A Plant Should Waste Nothing


A key feature of plants that use waste to energy, solvent distillation and wastewater treatment processes is that nothing is wasted. In other words, every byproduct is used. For example, Samex sends distillation bottoms, or the sediments and other matters separated from the solvent, to the alternative fuel formation section of the plant. It’s here that the bottoms are formulated for repurposing.  


Any waste water generated at Samex is repurposed as well. This conserves the natural resource of water while ensuring that nothing goes to landfills.


A Plant Is Transparent


Transparency is critical when selecting a plant to manage your facility’s waste. After all, you’re ultimately responsible for the waste that your facility generates, so it’s important to work with a partner that prioritizes accountability, compliance with regulations and alignment with your sustainability objectives.


Look for a plant that routinely returns your manifest within 30 days of receiving the hazardous waste. They should have systems in place to quickly route your waste and process within one week after receiving the waste. During that time, the waste should be analyzed to confirm conformance to the profile and routed to the appropriate processing area. After a few days, engineered fuel should be on the road to the cement kiln and the solvents for distillations should be processed and in inventory ready to go back into industry.  

Embracing The Sustainability Definition



By embracing sustainable options available to your manufacturing facility, you can mitigate any negative consequences associated with hazardous waste while enhancing your own sustainability goals. 


Investing in sustainable solutions like waste to energy or solvent distillation for hazardous waste management fosters innovation and drives the development of cleaner technologies, ultimately leading to more resilient and environmentally responsible industrial practices.


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