Garston slash treatment costs

16 February 2003

Garston Leather Ltd, part of Scottish Tanning Industries Group, have slashed their chemical cost for chrome effluent treatment by 50% by switching from using caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) to the more environmentally-friendly Magmex. Magmex, the trade name for magnesium hydroxide, a seawater based suspension produced by Kings Lynn-based Omex Environmental, has proved to be a big hit with Merseyside-based Garston Leather Ltd as a means of raising the chrome liquor effluent to pH9 to precipitate the chrome. By using Magmex, Garston also save around 20% on their landfill disposal costs, because the sludge produced in their filterpress is dryer than the sludge produced by using caustic soda. Garston have been using Magmex since February 2002 and the benefits and savings have been enormous compared with the use of caustic soda. Caustic soda, a byproduct of the chlorine industry, is a highly corrosive and hazardous chemical. It comes in 1,000 litre reinforced IBC containers which need to be changed four or five times a week at Garston Leather. Each change over represented a potential health hazard to staff and the danger of corrosion to equipment. Magmex is non-hazardous and does not present any danger to staff. After a three-month trial, Omex Environmental installed their own storage and dosing system at the Garston site. The system automatically agitates the Magmex 24 hours a day and because Omex takes responsibility for replenishing the sealed tank, Garston staff are free to get on with the business of turning hides into world-class leather instead of changing 1,000 litre IBCs almost every day. Garston's customers all over the world like the chemical change, too. A more environmentally-friendly manufacturing process has become a big selling point. Teresa Pereira, of Garston Leather, said: 'Switching from sodium hydroxide to Magmex has proved to be a win-win situation for us. It is environmentally friendly, it is non-hazardous and it has saved us a considerable amount of money. It has also improved the efficiency of our process. We are delighted that we made the change.'

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