Waste recycling offers great opportunities to the steelmaking segment, which is responsible for its production in enormous quantities. Undoubtedly, their reuse brings profits and has remarkable opportunities for people’s quality of life. One of the examples is the creation of Environmental Mitigation Hills to improve the landscape asset and reduce the noise pollution levels. We talk about this with Martina Ricetto, Head of Environment Office at ABS-Acciaierie Bertoli Safau.
In the recent years you have invested €50 M in sustainability projects. Could you please describe what they are all about?
The steelmaking process, like all industrial processes, produces scraps and waste. Every year ABS – Acciaierie Bertoli Safau produces about 120,000 ton of black dross in the generation process and around 30,000 ton of white dross from the ladles. Such a remarkable amount of waste material may be a problem, above all in terms of the costs and difficulties related to its disposal: in turn to ABS it is a great opportunity and a resource. Thanks to a series of innovative projects the company has actually managed to earmark over 80% of its waste for recycling and reuse.
Since 2005 ABS has used steelmaking waste for the production of two product lines intended for the construction industry: Ecogravel Black – a highly performant material used for bituminous mixtures, concrete and cement mixtures – and Ecogravel White – used mainly for cements and ground stabilization. Since 2007 the process has been industrialized with the opening of a dedicated plant, Global Blue, developed on a surface of 80,000 m2 able to produce over 150,000 tons a year.
Could you tell about the recent project, launched in 2010? What results have been achieved?
The Environmental Mitigation Hills built around the production plants were made from the recovery of steelworks slag, which were adequately treated in a process of stabilization and solidification. Once they had been modeled in accordance with the design, the hills were covered with a fertile soil, then the turf was laid and the trees were planted. The official inauguration was held on May 30, 2014 at an event open to the general public.
This project, along with planting of a wood has offered the inhabitants a remarkable landscape improvement. Moreover, new acoustic barriers allowed reducing the noise emissions by over 2 decibels, for the benefit of those who live close to the steelworks.
Finally, we can say that the steel production process at ABS is sustainable right from the beginning. Indeed, the company produces special steel from highly selected metal scrap compliant with the requirements of NFA (Norme Fabbricazione Acciaieria – Steelworks’ Manufacturing Standards), coming mostly from dismantling, carpentries or other industrial activities which produce chips or metal scrap. All incoming raw materials are appropriately analyzed and inspected, also in terms of radioactivity, through new generation portals, so as not to introduce dangerous substances, non-metallic inert materials or, precisely, radioactive substances into the process.
Have you made any agreements with the surrounding area? What are the projects aimed at getting closer to the inhabitants?
The company has completed numerous projects intended for the area and its inhabitants, which range from the social utility services such as the support to local association, to the participation in non-profit activities at the national level such as Telethon.
One of the most consolidated initiatives is definitely “Fabbricando – Scuole in azienda” (Manufacturing – Schools in Company), a national contest at different school education levels, aimed to favor the meeting and dialog between the education and the employment. Since 2005 Fabbricando has seen the participation of 290 schools involving a total of over 10,000 students.