What is Cleaner Production?
The term Cleaner Production came about from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Cleaner Production involves working with businesses to help them improve their environmental performance by:
- Using energy and resources efficiently
- Avoiding or reducing the amount of waste produced
- Producing environmentally sound products and services
- Achieving less waste, fewer costs and higher profits.
The goal is to reduce the adverse impact of production and service activities on the environment.
The Cleaner Production Programme in the Bay of Plenty
The Bay of Plenty Cleaner Production programme is a partnership between Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the territorial authorities (councils) in the Bay of Plenty region. Bay of Plenty Regional Council provides up to 50% of the funding each year. It provides free cleaner production services to businesses.
More than 200 businesses in the Bay of Plenty have taken part in the programme. After a walk through assessment that includes waste, energy and water auditing, as well as use of hazardous materials, each business is given a report. The report includes recommendations and guidelines with practical steps that can be taken to implement recycling and reduce wastage in their business.
This means financial savings for the business, and a reduction of costs to the environment and to ratepayers. The amount of waste going to landfill and the need for trade waste water treatment is reduced, and reduced energy use results in less power generation being required. Hazardous substance management can often be improved, with minimising the use of harmful chemicals and processes and finding non, or less, hazardous alternatives where possible. It also gives the businesses an enhanced environmental image.
Depending on the size of the business, potential cost savings for the participating businesses has been shown to be from $2,000 to more than $162,000 per year.
The terms of the contract state that both the Sustainable Business Network and the Waste Exchange should be promoted. The Waste Exchange is another programme supported by Bay of Plenty Regional Council (and to a lesser extent, the territorial authorities), where businesses can exchange unwanted products with other businesses, organisations or individuals instead of sending them to landfill.