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Heroes of Net Zero - Mondi

300 swimming pools in water-starved Africa

Three hundred Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water every year may seem like a drop in the ocean but if Coleridge didn’t lie, there’s ‘ne’er a drop to drink’ in too many places.

For a planet that is more than two-thirds water it is both tragic and, it pains me to say, ironic, that so many people are dying of thirst in Africa and other water-starved regions. Less than 2.5% of the water is fresh.

That brings me to my first ‘hero of net zero’, Mondi, in Richards Bay, South Africa. Check out my previous post for the origin of this series, but please read on first.

In simple terms, Easy Coat, our agent for Richards Bay, supplied 167 AESSEAL® type-SW2 and SW3 water management systems that use recycled water to cool, lubricate and flush Mondi’s mechanical seals. Check out all the technical details here.

OK, we made some money on this, but that isn’t what is putting the smile on my face.

The previous system used by the international packaging and paper group required constant flushing of water. The new seals cut water usage at the plant by more than 60 000 kilolitres per month, helping to conserve scarce water resources in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

That adds up to enough water to fill the Wembley Stadium four times over or to fill 25 Olympic-sized swimming pools every single month – so 48 football stadiums or 300 huge swimming pools in a year.

Big deal? Not if you are dying of thirst in Africa. Richards Bay is far from the worst but this region, like many others, suffers from chronic water shortage.

Mondi’s identification of the need to carefully and aggressively manage water resources as a component of the group’s environmental policy was the key to moving forward. The decision-makers in this company, and the engineers who advised them are, in my opinion, real heroes. It is far too easy just to stick with “we’ve always done it this way”. Virtue may be its own reward, but this was not costly. The saving in water from this project are estimated at just under £570,000. Pay-back was under one year.

As my compatriot Georgie Best liked to joke, “Where did it all go wrong?”

Keep following this channel for more like this and please propose your own “heroes of net zero” to

It’s not all about us.

This article was republished from an original piece, on LinkedIn : Written by Chris Rea.


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