Clear The Air News Blog Rotating Header Image

Grand Award Environmental Performance

Strict environmental policies put paper group ahead of the pack

John Cremer – Updated on Jan 22, 2009 – SCMP

Ingenuity and investment have been a successful combination that paved the way for Leo Paper Group (Hong Kong) to win the grand award for environmental performance.

Since 2000, the company has followed a self-imposed code of conduct, implementing stringent programmes to reduce waste, pollution and the use of water and energy, while also adhering to the highest international standards in terms of recycling and best environmental practices.

Production department director C.M. Yeung explained that many initiatives had involved examining and enhancing processes at the company’s three main production plants and print works near Jiangmen in southern China. These employ about 20,000 staff and manufacture a wide range of books, games, calendars, bags, packaging and gift items.

However, the company has also made a point of adopting green practices in every area of its business. Engineers and managers are expected to monitor research information and ideas from around the world and, wherever possible, find local applications that give large or small improvements.

“We are very focused on eliminating any waste and realise the control of energy is very important,” Mr Yeung said. “We also try to share our knowledge and experience.” He noted that several changes made in the past few years had led to a significant reduction in power consumption. For example, energy-efficient T5 lighting was installed in all the factories, cutting electricity usage by about 22 per cent.

The air-conditioning system, which runs virtually year-round, was redesigned so that the heat produced could be used to warm water for the bathrooms in nearby dormitory blocks. And the mechanical engineering team has effectively invented a centralised vacuum system, necessary for transferring paper into each printing press by suction, and for operating the binding and folding machines used in making books. Mr Yeung explained that the original system had been designed to operate only at maximum speed, something that was clearly not needed. By upgrading the mechanism to operate “on demand”, adapting the tubing to each press, and reducing indoor noise and heat, the company is able to save nearly 70 per cent of the energy used by the original design.

“We first developed it for a small area in one of the buildings, analysed the records and then installed the big system,” he said. “Some investment is required, but the payback comes quite soon.”

Similar efforts have been made for the treatment of waste water. Processed in three phases, it is reused for production, cleaning the factories and flushing toilets. Storage is in rooftop tanks to help reduce indoor temperatures. Mr Yeung said the company took its commitment to the principles of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and all forms of recycling seriously.

“We try to inspire and persuade our clients to FSC paper,” he said. “The price may be a little higher, but we try to share that.” He added the aim was to become a “zero rubbish” manufacturer. To that end, the firm is working with specialist partners to recycle paper, plastics, metals and chemicals.

Comments are closed.