Harwin run their own plating / finishing facility in the UK, and has a high level of responsibility for the quality of the water that is discharged back into the water system. In partnership with Southern Water in the United Kingdom (under their Trade Effluent monitoring), Harwin is monitoring the following substances:
- Nickel (Ni)
- Lead (Pb)
- Chromium (Cr)
- Copper (Cu)
- Silver (Ag)
- Tin (Sn)
Readings are taken twice daily, and our effluent treatment plant runs 24/7, whether or not the plating lines are active. We also have a “plating out” unit for the nickel waste water, which further removes nickel from the water.
Action is taken even when the limits are not breached, to ensure continual commitment to the quality of the water. Containment plans have been formulated for all eventualities. Working closely with Southern Water has enabled us to maintain our consent limits, and both parties are confident that Harwin is doing all it can to maintain the quality of the water.
A new treatment plant was introduced in 2012, making our water and materials recycling and reclamation extremely efficient. Utilising previous technology and due to the company’s strong growth, the company was using to 7,000 litres of water per hour; the new facility now means that the company uses that same amount of water in two weeks.
The plant uses resin filter technology which cleans all the rinse water and recycles it back into the plating area. The heavy metals – gold and tin – cleansed from the water can be reclaimed. Although this is already a common practice for gold, it is an industry first to reclaim the tin using this process.
The resin filters also clean the water to a higher level than the incoming “virgin” water - the level of conductivity in the incoming water is typically 400-600 microsiemens – recycled water after treatment is below 5 microsiemens. This helps maintain a high quality of plating finish on our products.
Waste Metal recycling
As much as Harwin’s production and design engineers do their best to maximise the amount of product obtained from all raw materials, waste metal is generated from both the turning and stamping processes.
Harwin’s production staff collect all waste metal and scrap, and sort it according to metal type. It is then loaded into scrap bins and sold back to the metal suppliers. These suppliers are able to re-process the material and recycle it back into a usable format for re-sale.
Cardboard and paper recycling
Throughout the factory and office areas, all cardboard and non-confidential paper is sorted into recycling bins. These are then kept separated for collection by our waste disposal company, who feed it into a local recycling facility.
Unfortunately, at this time confidential paperwork must be shredded, which cannot then be recycled. This is because current local recycling using hand-sorting techniques to separate recycling materials at their site, and shredded paper cannot be hand-sorted.
As local and national recycling schemes develop, Harwin will continue to monitor options to improve recycling initiatives.