Environmental Protection

Environmentally sound production and active environmental and climate protection are essential components of our corporate strategy. In order to ensure that our economic activities affect the environment as little as possible, BOXMARK puts a pioneering, ecological and energy-efficient overall concept into everyday practice. In this way we ensure the careful use of resources, reduction of waste and emissions and compliance with legal regulations and standards. Emission data is made public.

Environmentally-friendly leather production
Consistent development and research activities have allowed us to replace the traditional chromium III tanning procedure with a vegetable-synthetic production process in the last few years. This tanning process has allowed us to combine our idea of sustainability and our high quality standards.
BOXMARK has also managed to switch over to heavy metal free pigments in our dyeing operations and only solvent-free coatings are used in the finishing process. This means we meet the EU requirements for end-of-life vehicles, for example. But we do not want to stop there.
That is why we continue to conduct research on new tanning agents and methods with the aim of making our production even more environmentally friendly.

 

Natural tanning agents

BOXMARK as a technology leader
BOXMARK has been a technology leader in the leather manufacturing industry for years now. We do not merely meet the European Commission’s specifications in the Industrial Emissions Directive regarding the best available technology (BAT), but greatly exceed them. In order to ensure steady improvement, BOXMARK continuously invests in research and development.

Environmental management system
Quality and environment go hand in hand at BOXMARK. In addition to the quality management systems ISO 9001 and ISO/TS 16949 that we introduced many years ago, we have also used the environmental management system according to ISO 14001 at BOXMARK since 1998. Environmental management audits are conducted at regular intervals. 

BOXMARK's Ecology Center
BOXMARK’s in-house Ecology Center ensures that the standards introduced into the company not only exist on paper, but are put into practice in our everyday business. Appropriate support and ongoing training ensure that our environmental experts are kept up to date in their field of expertise. They also regularly exchange their experiences in internal and external work groups, thereby expanding their knowledge.

Energy efficient use of resources
Optimized production pathways, efficient energy recovery and closed-loop recycling of material and energy flows help optimize the use of resources in all areas. The aim is to gradually increase the share of renewable energy used.
New photovoltaic system at the Feldbach factory
The Feldbach facility has been powered by solar energy since April 2015. A system with 588 modules and a nominal output of 149.94 kWp was installed on the factory roof. The expected annual electricity production is about 168,000 kWh, equivalent to the average power consumption of 40 Austrian households per year. The goal is to generate enough energy to cover most of its own needs in the medium term.

Photovoltaic system on the roof of BOXMARK Feldbach

Wastewater treatment
Since BOXMARK implemented a three-stage wastewater treatment method in its purification plants, the purification performance has been as high as 98%, far exceeding the required limit values. The technology for the “tertiary purification stage” was developed in-house and has yet to find its match in any other tannery.

Waste recycling
The prevention of waste is a top priority at BOXMARK. Our ecology concept has enabled us to reduce our total waste by more than 80%. By-products from production, such as tissue residues, are processed into animal fat or alternative fuels, pieces of hide are used as raw material by the collagen industry and leather scraps are sold to bag and belt manufacturers.

Soil, noise and air
We were able to put an end to soil contamination by proper disposal and thermal processing of wastewater sludge by means of biomechanical treatment. The compulsory use of ear protection, safety training and instructions protect our employees against noise pollution. In order to prevent odor nuisance, all exhaust air is cleaned by biofilter plants.

Biofilter plant in Feldbach

Environmental protection projects
BOXMARK has realized a number of projects in the past few years in order to improve our environmental and energy performance and take the basic idea of sustainability into account, in both an ecological and economic sense. Below are some examples:
• Partial flow treatment of tannery wastewater – hair saving and thus reduction of sludge
• By using O2 probes and a new control system in both purification plants, the energy demand was reduced by 30%
• Installation of a photovoltaic system in Feldbach
• Extraction and use of biogas from wastewater sludge
• Minimizing salt loads in wastewater
• Increasing energy efficiency through conversion of drying tunnels
• Implementation of a new sludge dewatering system
• Substitution of oil burners
• Reduction of waste through increased Recycling
• More precise control of input quantities and measures for sludge reduction
• Optimization of purification processes in order to ensure process reliability
• Installation of a laboratory purification plant to test the products used regarding their compatibility with wastewater purification, among other things
• Recycling of wooden pallets and IBC containers

Purification plant in Feldbach

BOXMARK's goals for the future:
· Heat recovery from wastewater
· Conversion of the ventilation system for additional energy savings
· Further reduction of residual dyes in wastewater
· Feasibility study of “short floats” in the dyeing process
· Green fleshing and increased fat yields
· Further reduction of waste
· Continuous improvement and further development for a “greener” future

Employees in external programs

Work group BAT documents
BOXMARK has been involved in the national work group for revising BAT documents for plant guidelines for EU tanneries. The group determines the state of the art in the industry and this is then recorded in documents that are binding for all companies.

ÖWAV Sample and measurement procedure
BOXMARK developed a standard sample and measurement procedure for surface tension. The measurement procedure was presented to the Austrian Water and Waste Management Association, where it was recognized and is now used as a working tool. This has resulted in increased legal certainty in terms of surface tension measurement.

Purification plant community
The purification plant community is a platform for the exchange of information by municipal and industrial purification plants in the region. The aim is to enhance quality and exchange information, news and solutions to problems. There are also bi-annual meetings that are organized by a different purification plant each time.

ARGE for revising the “Abwasseremissionsverordnung Gerbereien” (wastewater emission regulation for tanneries)
A BOXMARK representative is participating in the revision of the above-mentioned regulation, the basis of which are the “BAT Conclusions”.

Blauer Engel
The “Blauer Engel” (Blue Angel) is an eco-label that has been awarded in Germany since 1978 for particularly environmentally friendly products and Services.

REACH
Reach is an EU chemicals regulation that stands for “Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals”. BOXMARK can provide all the declarations of conformity that it requires for all of its products.

 
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