Our Environmental Commitment Environmental Innovation
Over the years, we’ve constantly reviewed the amount of waste being produced through the manufacturing process. In the tabletop industry, this is often high amounts, due to the shear volume of products being created on a daily basis, as well as production methods that haven’t massively changed for many years.
This is an industry wide issue, so we said to ourselves, how can we innovate our processes to reduce our environmental footprint.
The answer itself has been years in the making, with recycling and manufacturing techniques being devised simply for this purpose, leading the tableware industry through innovative techniques not used anywhere else.
We have a dedicated and innovative approach to caring for the environment. In 2007, the business became one of only five companies in the UK to install a Lamella system. Steelite is the only tableware manufacturer to use a Lamella system for recycling clay waste:
• Allows dirty water to run downwards into a separator chamber through an inlet channel.
• Once the water reaches the middle of the separator, the flow is reversed which forces the water upwards and out of a clean water outlet.
• The particles in the dirty water travel at a slower speed than the water so when the flow is redirected upwards, the particles settle within the Lamella and slide down into a sludge funnel.
• The process is highly efficient and subsequently, requires significantly fewer chemicals to purify the cleaned water.
• Allows us to produce 15,000 cups and saucers every year with the clay waste extracted. Annual savings equivalent to 350 Tonnes of raw material (350 Tonnes not needing to be quarried, processed or delivered).
Our centrifuge system is an industry first, earning us a Green Apple Award for 2019.
• The centrifuge system works by passing what would usually be waste water containing glaze into a spinning drum, similar to that on a washing machine.
• Spinning this water at high speeds forces it to the sides of the drum, where filters grasp the glaze within the water but allow the water to pass through.
• During the process, the glaze collects in large amounts on the drum walls.
• Once the cycle is finished, the glaze is scraped by a rotating arm, dropping it into a barrel beneath, ready to be put back into the manufacturing process.
• This in turn gives us clean water which we put back into other parts of the manufacturing process rather than introducing more clean water.
• This process:
1. Saves circa 100 tonnes per year in glaze and 20 cubic metres of water per day
2. Reduces the amount of chemicals that we’ve previously used whilst trying to reclaim glaze through more primitive methods
3. Dramatically improves the waste water that does leave site.
These techniques pioneered by ourselves are aimed at being beneficial for the entire industry, rather than our customers exclusively. Steelite’s place leading the tabletop and buffet industry is propped up on the hope that other companies and industries can learn and expand on what we’re doing, eventually leading to a mass reduction in waste and more thoughtful attitudes towards this.