In Canada and China: water recycling from west to east

The preservation of water is a key challenge for the Group's various plants. In 2012, the Montréal and Suzhou plants developed and implemented two innovative technologies for recycling water. Discovery.

Recyclage de l'eau
Recyclage de l'eau

Water, which is a natural resource essential for preserving biodiversity, is widely used in the cosmetics industry. It is a major component in products, and is essential for the various production processes and for cleaning equipment. Up to two thirds of total water consumption is spent on cleaning and significant water savings have already been made by optimising the washing processes. The challenge is now to treat water so that it can be reused.

Two technologies with the same objective

On the shores of the St. Lawrence River in Montreal roughly half of industrial waste, i.e. a third of the plant’s water consumption, will now be of such quality that it can be reused in the plant as clean-up water. This system, which was set up in summer 2012, is based on three successive filtrations: suspended-particle filtration (ultra-filtration), salt filtering using a desalination process (reverse osmosis) and finally recovery of the finest components associated with colouring (carbon filter). The challenge consisted in finding high-performance membranes that are economical and last for one to two years.

In Suzhou a new water recycling system has also been set up alongside optimisation of the cleaning process. The circuits of the vacuum pumps used in production have been modified, now making it possible to recycle 80% of water used, i.e. approximately 5% of the water consumed in the plant. Reverse osmosis (RO) concentrate (a byproduct when producing process water) is now reused, in particular for diluting chemicals used in the Waste Water Treatment Plant. A feasibility study is being conducted to use the remaining RO concentrate for first rinse.