Our work for the environment – Respecting ISO 14001 – Plastic inliners

“Do care” is a deep value among us Finnesterians. Be it about customer service, product quality or the environment.

“Do care” is a deep value among us Finnesterians. Be it about customer service, product quality or the environment.

Here is a small portion of that ethic of ours. John Egerton, our Production Manager, describes with passion, why a single item that might initially sound as a waste of natural resources, is actually for the greater good.

“We here at the factory side of operations deal with chemicals daily”, John says. “So we know how much hidden work there is in handling delicate liquids and compounds. Cooking at home creates a mess that can be cleaned easily, but our cooking remnants can’t be left around tabletops.” John presents the vessel inliner. Essentially a plastic bag. “We use several volumes. 10, 20 and 200 liter bags for those packing vessels”, pointing at the smaller containers at our factory that our customers recieve. “These big boys we use with our 500 kg and 1000 kg reaction vessels while mixing our products”.

Using something plastic might sound unethical, but the truth is the opposite.

“In our process, these bigger inliners save us the time and effort of cleaning the residue after producing a batch. We have to use solvents to clean these residues and those solvents are mostly hazardous. Acetone PMA, Styrene; really nasty stuff. The resins used in this industry are tough to remove from metal surfaces so there wouldn’t be any other option to clean the machinery.” John ellaborates more on the burden a cleaning operation would create: “Cleaning the 1-ton vessel after a batch would create a minimum of 5 kilos of problem waste. Almost all of that would be the cleaning solvents themselves. Around 0,5% of our production would be problem waste, which is unacceptable. Atleast in my world.”

35 tons of product would equal 175 kg of problem waste

“Many of us know how annoying it is to store the used batteries at home before delivering them to problem waste recycling. We would have to do the same in a larger, more dangerous and costly way. That 0,5%, so around 175 kg after a 35 tons of product produced, would have to be poured in sealed cans or vessels, stored far from personnel and we would eventually call Fortum Waste & Recycling to pick it up and transfer to their facilities for proper disposal”, John says shaking his head.

Using inliners creates a brighter option

“We can put the contaminated inliner, that has only our product in it, directly to energy waste.” John quickly adds: “And we don’t have to replace them after every batch! If we continue to mix the same product, the inliner can stay in for around five mixing procedures.” Energy waste is a big improvement when the only other option is problem waste. When asked, how the options are as polarised as they are, the answer is simple: “Our product is not hazardous and there is very little left behind from the 1-ton batch. Finnester RED is GHSO7 labeled, the lowest hazardous level, which means don’t eat it or rub it on your face, but it is still far from being toxic and environmentally unfriendly. There are only small traces of solvents”

One last detail John want’s to add, is the benefit of smaller inliners, that travel the world

“We put inliners in every single tin can and drum we ship to customers. Sadly, environmental responsibilities are not the same everywhere around the world and we can not assume after cleaning with the [previously mentioned] methods the following disposal will be done responsibly. With inliners the shipped containers can be reused without cleaning. Just remove the bag and that’s it.”