COLUN diligently manages its usable, non-usable and dangerous waste, through its recovery, recycling or disposal in duly authorized places, in order to reduce the impact of its activity outside the plant.
The enactment of the new Law of Extended Producer Responsibility (REP) of the Ministry of the Environment includes 6 priority products, among which are Containers and Packaging. In this context, COLUN made the declaration for all its Containers and Packaging in August 2017 through the Single Window, RETC, and is evaluating alternatives.
- Under the same policy, COLUN declares annually its generation of pollutants in the Single Window System of the Pollutant Emissions and Transfers Registry (PRTR) for each of its Industrial Plants, such as: Residuos Industriales (SINADER)
- Hazardous Waste (SIDREP)
- Storage of Hazardous Substances (DASUSPEL)
- Emissions from Fixed Sources (F138)
- Emission of Liquid Industrial Waste (RILES)
As well as annually declaring its Environmental Protection Expenses (Form GAP).
COLUN develops investment projects every year that allow it to improve its environmental performance. In particular, for some years now, the corporate carbon footprint and the footprint of some products have been measured. In addition, there are several energy efficiency projects to lower the carbon footprint that are described in their sustainability reports. Some of these correspond, for example, to the use of LNG instead of Oil No. 5 at Los Tambores Plant or the new biomass boiler that is currently under construction.
The water consumption mainly comes from the equipment washing processes, since at the end of a shift the entire production line is cleaned. Additionally, the water is reused in the cleaning phases of the ponds. The water that is used in the last rinse is recovered to wash the next pond and is later destined for RILES processing. Another important management in the use of water, in which COLUN was a pioneer, is the reuse of the so-called “milk water” that is extracted from the milk in the evaporation processes. This is used for the generation of steam in the boilers.
Use of energy
Energy is one of the most important inputs for a company like COLUN, since it runs mainly on electricity and fuels. The most energy-intensive processes are evaporation and pasteurization; in the latter process the milk is treated to eliminate microorganisms that could be harmful to health.
As a complement to the electrical energy consumed from the Central Interconnected System (SIC), COLUN has generators that help it in periods of high energy consumption in the city. In this way, it is possible to ensure the provision of energy even in disaster situations, such as the one experienced as a result of the last earthquake in the central and southern zone, which allowed it to continue processing the milk of its partners despite the lack of energy and fuels in the area. COLUN is currently carrying out projects to diversify its energy matrix.
The impact of transport is a relevant issue that the Cooperative is addressing from different areas. The Department of Transportation and Traceability of Raw Milk aims to transfer the raw material from the premises to the industrial plant in a safe and timely manner, according to the quality and quantity requirements required by COLUN. Currently, the milk collection fleet is made up of 57 tanker trucks with capacities ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 liters. To make milk collection more efficient, planning software designed for the dairy industry is used, which operates in several of the most prestigious dairy companies. This system has become an essential element for the operation of this department, allowing it to achieve and project considerable savings in the global collection exercise. Additionally, road impact studies have been carried out that allowed us to evaluate some alternative solutions, mainly for the use of smaller vehicles from the plant.
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Carrying out meaningful actions is essential for our Cooperative. The alliance and ongoing work with social organizations allows COLUN to collaborate with hundreds of people, who benefit through various initiatives such as: Telethon, Hogar de Cristo, Compromiso País, Fundación Las Rosas, volunteering by Syndicates of COLUN, Open Dining Room, Nursing Homes, Children’s Homes, etc.