To Sell Eco Green Product = Production Process Must be Green First

Today, countries around the world are promoting all sort of “Green Movement” to rejuvenate our Earth, which is “tired” of pollution and contamination caused by humans. Although not all communities, especially in Indonesia, have began participating in this “Green Movement”, many in Indonesia have started some activities to make this earth remain green and sustainable. For example, by not indiscriminately cutting trees, the movement “to plant 1000 trees”, sorting out the trash by separating the garbage decomposes and does not decompose, and recycling.

To recycle especially difficult materials or non-biodegradable waste, is very important to restore youthfulness of the Earth. Awareness to recycle not only implemented by the community, but also by some companies and factories. One example of a company that has been engaged in operation and production which is more responsible for preserving the earth is PT. Beton Elemenindo Putra, located in Batujajar, Bandung regency. This company, which produces b-panel®, an earthquake-resistant, energy-efficient building material, has engaged in the recycling process at its plant systematically. One of the basic ingredients of this plant is EPS (expanded polystyrene). EPS or commonly known as Styrofoam, has been long regarded as a source of problematic waste, because it does not rot or decompose, so it tends to pile up on garbage dump sites. The irony is, that if EPS is used in building material as thermal insulation, the energy savings are significant, and because the EPS is not used in a “single-use” fashion (as in the case of decorating and wrapping / packaging), the environmental impacts will be much less – dwellings and buildings are designed to last for many years or even generations, so the non-biodegradable nature of EPS is compatible with the usage. b-panel® factory recycles EPS thoroughly and systematically, so that the raw material for EPS is used by as much as possible, and production waste is reduced, and even eliminated.

The above diagram is process flow of PT. Beton Elemenindo Putra’s factory recycling process. The factory produces two types of EPS. First is the construction –grade EPS, which has flame-retarding property (commonly called EPS-FR) used as raw material for b-panel® The second is “regular” EPS for decoration materials and packaging, which is commonly called EPS-RG. It is made with similar raw materials, except that EPS-RG is not fire retardant.From raw materials (EPS beads), EPS produced by passing the process of expansion and blocking.From blocking to the production of b-panel®, EPS-FR then processed in accordance with specified standards, and then is custom cut to sizes and shapes specific to a project. This process generates waste pieces of EPS-FR. EPS-FR chunks which condition meets the appropriate standards of b-panel® are then crushed and combined again with a new (“virgin”) EPS-FR to make the next blocks of EPS-FR, which is then processed into b-panel®, marketed as “Recycled Blend” type.

For remaining pieces of EPS – FR which do not meet b-panel® standard, theyare combined with EPS-RG waste. This plant does not recycle the EPS-FR mixed with EPS-RG for b-panel®, because of the strict fire retardancy requirement. Thus, the remaining pieces of the combined EPS type FR and RG is really a production waste.

However, in the factory of PT. Beton Elemenindo Putra, pieces of waste EPS are not thrown away. The plant has an EPS melting facility not far from the location of the factory. EPS waste is melted in a specially designed furnace, and then cast into hard polystyrene in the form of chips and ingots. Polystyrenechips and ingots are raw material for many everyday items, such as mobile phone casings, computer casing, etc.

The EPS smelting facility is not only used by the PT Beton Elemenindo Putra alone. The truck fleets of PT. Beton Elemenindo Putra pick up, without charge, sytrofoam waste from companies and shops in various parts of Bandung and its surroundings, and take them to the smelting facility. As a result, not only the factory production process b-panel® produces very little waste (less than 0.3% in weight of production), the plant’s operation will also help reduce the buildup of waste Styrofoam in the city of Bandung and its surroundings.

In addition to implementing a systematic process of recycling, PT. Beton Elemenindo Putra also run other aspects of environmentally friendly production as well. For example: The factory utilizes a boiler that uses palm kernel shell) so that greenhouse gas emission is minimized. This is to ensure that this factory is truly environmentally-friendly as a whole, from the products to the manufacturing process itself. Especially in Indonesia’s building material manufacturing sector, PT. Beton Elemenindo Putra is a pioneer of environmentally-friendly factory.

Finally, it is unfortunate that the recent motto of “Green” has been overused as marketing tool only. Many companies that sell “environmentally friendly” products, in reality pollute the environment just as badly as others, as well as the fact that their products actually have little environmental merits. Hopefully more people will recognize the efforts of companies that try to work persistently to sustain our environment.

Source: Properti.biz Feb 2010, Techno Konstruksi Magazine edition 24 tahun 2010

Article Reference : “Properti.biz” Newspaper, February 2010 [ PDF ]