Sri Lanka's apparel sector powerhouse Brandix has brought honour to the country by winning Gold at the prestigious International Green Apple Environmental Awards presented at Britain's House of Commons in November.
Conferred by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental endeavours and initiatives around the world, the award is the organisation's top accolade for environmental best practice at international level.
It was presented to Brandix Finishing Ltd., (BFL) Ratmalana for the company's innovative efforts to achieve zero disposal of solid waste and sludge to landfill by converting its effluent to environmentally, economically and socially relevant by products.
One of these products, solid construction bricks made from sludge generated by the garment washing, dyeing and finishing processes at BFL is already in use for the construction of a vocational training centre for the differently-abled.
Brandix Finishing has also successfully integrated its sludge disposal process with the anaerobic digester of the company's effluent treatment plant to produce bio gas from decomposed biological sludge and canteen food waste. This bio gas is now being used for cooking of food at the canteen and is to be used in firing the curing oven used in the garment finishing process in the near future.
The remaining biological sludge on analysis has been found to contain many nutrients for plant growth and the company has in consultation with the Agricultural Research Institute launched a community project with the assistance of the Industrial Development Board (IDB) for the production of organic fertiliser.
It is quite amazing to see how much value can be generated from simple sludge, if an effort is made
A. J. Johnpillai, Group Director
"It is quite amazing to see how much value can be generated from simple sludge, if an effort is made," said Brandix Group Director A. J. Johnpillai. "The processes developed by Brandix's environmental engineers can be a model for many industries that have to dispose of solid waste."
"The Green Apple award is a fitting tribute to the passion and commitment of the Brandix environment team which is continuously looking for ways to recycle or convert waste into by products," said Hilary Nath, Head of Environment Management and Research at Brandix, disclosing that further research and development is underway to produce paper and roofing sheets as an alternative to asbestos from sludge.
Already, the conversion of sludge and canteen waste into bricks, bio gas and organic fertiliser has generated savings of Rs 7.4 million a year for Brandix Finishing, and enabled the company to qualify for ISO 14001:2004 Environment Management System certification, he disclosed. These processes have in their initial stage accounted for 65 per cent of the 32 tons of sludge produced by the company per month, and will in their final stage result in zero disposal of sludge.
The Green Apple Environment Award was accepted on behalf of Brandix Finishing by Francis Surtees, Commercial Manager. Previous award winners include Jaguar Cars of the UK at national level. The awards recognise environmental innovations and best practices such as energy and resources conservation, recycling, by-products development and ecological conservation. The Green Organisation looks for measurable benefit, sustainability, innovation, partnerships and commitment.
Brandix pioneered the concept of total solutions in the Sri Lankan apparel industry and is Sri Lanka's largest apparel exporter with a consolidated annual turnover of over US$ 320 million. The winner of two Presidential Export Awards this year, the Group is strongly focused on CSR initiatives that primarily involve water. In addition the Group has integrated Clean Technology, Waste Management, Energy Management and Environmental Conservation into its operations on the basis of a strong belief that sustainable industrial development can drive its ultimate goal of being a completely green business concern.