Jotun’s new wastewater treatment plant will allow the company to recycle about 3,500,000 litres of process water every year. When fully operational, about two thirds of this recycled, purified water will be re-used at the factory.
Jotun’s factory in Norway is capable of producing about 50 million litres of both exterior and interior decorative paints. While most of this water is used for cooling machinery, a significant amount is used for cleaning purposes. If not treated or disposed of properly, this wastewater represents an environmental risk.
Jotun understands that material efficiency is a basic principle of the circular economy, a system where the value of raw materials, components and products are retained as much as possible within a closed loop value chain. In 2017, Jotun launched a pilot project in 2017 to develop a water recycling system in cooperation with a Norwegian supplier, Eagle Enviro.
Instead of water processing systems that use evaporation or combustion, the project team pioneered a new system, which uses advanced technology to separate binders from water. With funding support from Enova, a government enterprise that supports private and industrial initiatives related to environmentally friendly solutions, the project team successfully completed a working prototype.
In 2019, Jotun decided to scale up the system. After working through a number of complex technical and engineering challenges, the new system was commissioned in April 2021. At present, the process water treatment system purifies about 5,500 litres of water per day, but when fully operational, the system will have the capacity recycle close to 3.5 million litres of process water every year, allowing Jotun to re-use about two thirds of its wastewater.
Reduce, re-use, recycle
The wastewater treatment system is consistent with reducing waste, a key element of Jotun’s GreenSteps programme and the company’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, the system has helped reduce costs and has provided Jotun with valuable experience that may be applied to other factories in the network.