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Li Z.-D.,Dalian University of Technology | Li Z.-D.,Dalian Cleaner Production Center | Li Z.-D.,Dalian Municipal Design and Research Institute of Environmental Science | Zhang S.-S.,Dalian University of Technology | And 5 more authors.
Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy | Year: 2011

The pharmaceutical industry in China makes an important contribution to the national economy. However, the associated pollution problems cause gradual deterioration of the environment and impact adversely on the local community. Cleaner production (CP) technology, an effective way to reduce waste emission and save resources, has been widely employed in the pharmaceutical industry in the developed countries. Such technologies have been applied in a number of factories in China, although there is no integrated assessment and implementation procedure for implementing CP technologies in pharmaceutical plants. To solve such problems, a series of CP options are proposed and assessed here. CP is a powerful tool for decreasing waste production, limiting environmental pollution and natural resource depletion. Moreover, the return on investment in CP is quick, so it would seem that CP activities should be very much in demand by enterprises. Reality is less optimistic: frequently only limited interest is expressed, even after an explanation; business people hesitate to become actively involved. The processes in the pharmaceutical production industry produce a vast amount of waste, including wastewater with high concentrations of organic substances (the principal component), solid waste, and organic off-gas. To solve such problems, a series of CP options are proposed and assessed in this study. Having consideration to environmental impacts and economic efficiency, four groups of medium/high cost CP options were screened in an integrated assessment. To verify the proposed options, a case study was conducted in Degussa Luyuan, Northeast China. The characteristics of resource consumption and waste emission during the production process were identified. The proposed options were evaluated according to different aspects. An integrated CP system based on the proposed options was designed and then implemented in the factory. In three years of practical use, the productivity and quality of alcohol product were improved, with a reduction in waste and pollution and a marked increase in water/energy savings. This study provides theoretical and practical support for the extensive application of CP technologies and sustainable development in China's pharmaceutical industry. These methods include ways to clean up production that are incorporated in the process design, reforming present production technologies, updating the equipment, exploiting new producing flowcharts, using cleaner energy, building recycling into the manufacturing process, recycling waste, enhancing management, developing environmental protection technology, and ensuring satisfactory end-of-pipe disposal. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

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