The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) definition of “Cleaner Production” is “cleaner production means the continuous application of an integrated, preventative environmental strategy to processes, products and services to increase efficiency and reduce risks to humans and the environment”. For production processes, Cleaner Production results, from one or a combination of measures, conserving raw materials, water and energy; eliminating toxic and dangerous raw materials; reducing the quantity and toxicity of all emissions and wastes at source during the production process.
For products, Cleaner Production aims to reduce the environmental, health and safety impacts of products over their entire life cycles, i.e. beginning from raw materials extraction, through manufacturing and use, to the ‘ultimate’ disposal of the product. For services, Cleaner Production implies incorporating environmental concerns into designing and delivering services.
Cleaner Production can reduce the environmental impact thus reducing operating cost improve profitability and worker safety of your business. Companies are often surprised at the cost reductions achievable through the adoption of Cleaner Production techniques. Frequently, minimal or no capital expenditure is required to achieve worthwhile gains, with fast pay-back periods. Waste handling charges, raw material usage and insurance premiums can often be cut, along with potential risks. Yet most companies in the region remain unaware of the potential cost savings and environmental benefits of cleaner production.
Cleaner production is the improvement in operational processes to make more efficient use of inputs such as raw materials, water and power along a company’s value chain. On a broader scale, Cleaner Production can help to reduce the problems like solid, liquid and gaseous emission by doing efficient manufacturing practices. Effective cleaner production interventions not only help to conserve resources and reduce waste, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, but can also reduce operating costs.
Cleaner Production does not deny growth; it merely insists that growth be ecologically sustainable. It should not be considered only as environmental strategy, because it also relates to economic considerations. In this context, waste is considered as a ‘product’ which can be used as a raw material to other industry.
Each action to reduce consumption of raw materials and energy, prevent or reduce generation of waste, increase productivity and bring financial benefits to the enterprise. Cleaner Production is a ‘win-win’ strategy. It protects the environment, the consumer and the worker while improving industrial efficiency, profitability, and competitiveness. The key difference between pollution control and Cleaner Production is therefore one of timing. Pollution control is an after-the-event, ‘react and treat’ approach while Cleaner Production is a forward looking, ‘anticipate and prevent’ philosophy.