Proposal of sustainability indicators for the waste management from the paper industry within the circular economy model
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The optimization of water management in industrial processes is paramount in diminishing or mitigating, as far as possible, the negative externalities generated by its current use within the linear economy model. This research presents methods for the optimization of wastewater from paper mills which are associated with the new sustainability and circular economy model. In this way, the concept of circular economy was applied to the wastewater treatment from a paper mill, with the objective of recovering the resources contained in this type of effluent. The wastewater treatment plant is based on a biological reactor of activated sludge, and treats a flow of 4868 m3·day-1. This study proposes the development and evaluation of indicators of circular economy applied to wastewater from a paper mill, as well as the assessment of the removal performance of color, total suspended solids (TSS), biochemical oxygen demand on the fifth day (BOD5), and chemical oxygen demand (COD), which are higher than 96% in all cases. Per 1 m3 of wastewater from a paper mill, a volume of 0.9 m3 of potentially reusable water and a recovered sludge mass of 0.7 kg are generated; the latter is reused as a mineral filler during the process itself. In light of this, a multivariable statistical analysis was applied to determine the relationship of the operation variables and indicators of circular economy. In this way, wastewater from the paper mill can be regarded as a technological nutrient, which is partially reintroduced into the production process, enabling the recovery of the water and mineral fillers that it contains. © 2018 by the authors.
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