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Monadnock Saves $1.5 Million with ‘Sludge Sled’

MonadnockMonadnock Paper Mills is using a “sludge sled” to remove materials from its nine million gallon waste lagoon system, Forbes reports.

The material goes through a wastewater treatment system and gets blended with short paper fibers to form a soil replenishment for farmers. This procedure has saved about $1.5 million in dredging costs and kept three million pounds of material out of landfills, according to environmental manager Michelle Hamm.

Hamm says the company has also worked with chemical vendors to procure more benign raw materials. And the firm is 100 percent powered by renewables, with half of its energy (about 8 million kWh a year) coming from its own dams on the Contoocook River, and renewable energy certificates helping to make up the rest. Monadnock is considering using compressed natural gas with dual fuel capability, which it says would significantly reduce emissions and offer a fast pay-back.

Last April, Monadnock’s Bennington, NH, facility achieved re-certification for compliance with the ISO 14001 environmental management standard. The company said that over the preceding three years, it realized a 14 percent reduction in water consumption and a 7 percent reduction in electricity use.

The company now says it is committed to reducing both energy and water use by 2 percent a year, and solid waste by 5 percent per year.

Takeaway: Monadnock’s environmental efforts include a “sludge sled” for waste disposal and reuse, adoption of the ISO 14001 standard, and commitments to reduce energy and water consumption.

Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.

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