Air pollution is one of Poland’s biggest concerns. Our well-being is something we all strive for and the air we breathe has a significant impact on our health. Every time we take a breath we draw half a litre of air into our lungs. Its purity is vitally important. Poland ranks among those countries with the most polluted air. The Fundacja Ekologiczna ARKA [ARKA ecological foundation] was the first non-governmental organisation in Poland to conduct environmental education on the subject of air pollution. Clean Air Day, which was instigated by Fundacja Ekologiczna ARKA, has been celebrated since 2005.
What is the situation in the GRUPA KĘTY S.A. Group with regard to ensuring clean air?
For many years Grupa Kęty has maintained a system compliant with the ISO 14001 standard which provides a framework for continuously improving and increasing environmental efficiency. The Company’s environmental policy is targeted at clean production, by which we understand striving for resource efficiency, reduced emissions and effective accident prevention. Achieving these objectives conforms with the tasks set as part of the annually approved Environmental Programme. We act in accordance with the principle of sustainable development, respecting environmental conditions as specified by law, and in accordance with corporate social responsibility. We undertake all our activities with professionalism, paying attention to both current and future environmental impacts. We recognise that we have a both direct and indirect impact on the natural environment, hence we conduct our activities in a way that minimises this impact.
All installations operated by the company have legally required environmental permits. We monitor changes in the regulatory environment on an ongoing basis, identify associated risks, and determine future actions. The fact that actions are taken in GK’s companies even before specific legal regulations come into being is proof of our recognition of the importance of such issues.
When analysing the Group’s companies’ impact on the environment we pay particular attention to gas and dust emissions into the atmosphere, especially carbon dioxide, as emissions into the air have a direct impact on the environment. Owing to the nature of our processes and the thermal power used by our machinery, the combined level of greenhouse gas emissions is low. The Group’s companies are not covered by the EU’s Emissions Trading System. The greenhouse gases emitted by EPS installations are CO2 and HFC. The carbon dioxide emitted by the Extruded Products Segment comes from the process of burning natural gas in furnaces and process ovens for the thermal processing of aluminium. The emission of CO2 in the Aluminium Systems Segment results from burning natural gas in process ovens for thermal processing and polymerisation, and in heaters and boilers. Emissions in the Flexible Packaging Segment come from burning natural gas in boilers, furnaces and afterburners for reducing VOCs.
In addition to carbon dioxide, the EPS emits sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, dust, and negligible amounts of inorganic compounds. The main source of the emissions is the process of burning natural gas.
The main pollutants emitted by the ASS are: sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and dust. The source of the emissions is the process of burning natural gas. The FPS’s companies emit into the air mainly VOCs and ozone. The source of the emissions are the printing and laminating processes for packaging which use volatile organic compounds and ozone, and the process of burning natural gas in boilers and afterburners.
The Group’s companies carry out periodic measurements of emissions from installations as part of their checks on environmental impact. Measurements taken during monitoring indicate that levels are within the stipulated permitted norms. The combined level of emissions by the Group’s companies is well below the permitted value.
Optimalisation of the aluminium smelting process in the EPS has allowed for an increase in the amount of secondary raw materials used in final production. Currently, Grupa Kęty utilises almost 100% of the aluminium waste produced in the plant in Kęty and Polish subsidiaries. The waste is used as a component in the manufacture of new products. The company also uses aluminium waste obtained from end users and from other manufacturing plants. To ensure no contaminated aluminium is melted down and no harmful compounds are released into the air that could be hazardous for the environment, stringent requirements are applied regarding the quality of the purchased scrap.
By using scrap aluminium we save around 95% of the energy needed for producing primary aluminium through extraction from bauxite, the smelting of which is energy-intensive. By recycling aluminium we reduce air pollution by 95% and water pollution by 97%.