Initial situation and objectives

Natural stone is a natural resource and a precious material. Through the optimization of extraction processes and further interventions, Alfredo Polti SA aims to constantly reduce its environmental impact and improve its environmental sustainability. The objective is to reduce emissions to a minimum.

Precisely for this reason, in June 2012, Alfredo Polti SA commissioned the company Muttoni & Beffa SA to draw up an ecological balance sheet of the company. The evolution of emissions into the environment was compared by comparing the data before 2000, to the current ones (2011), and to those projected up to the year 2025. From this study emerged strategies for improvements which are to be implemented in the future.



Reduction of particulates, emissions caused by transport and waste

The results of the ecological report showed that the damage caused by fine particles could be considerably decreased during the analysis period. The optimization of internal transport logistics and the installation of an irrigation system on the side of the busiest roads enabled a reduction in fine particles of 1.5 tonnes per year. With the unification of the two quarries in 2013 it was possible to optimize the entire extraction area and thus achieve a further reduction of fine particles emissions of 8%.

The introduction of particulate filters on most of Alfredo Polti SA's machinery allowed a reduction in pollution of 200 million points of environmental impact per year. In addition, the reuse of Alfredo Polti SA scraps for granular mixes for foundations and fills caused a decrease in the volume of waste.




Possibility of further reduction of fine particles

The evolution of Alfredo Polti SA towards the underground extraction of gneiss would make it possible to achieve a substantial further improvement in the reduction of fine particles by the year 2025. For now, the feasibility and planning of these measures are being discussed.



What is an ecological balance

The ecological balance consists of a summary and an assessment of the activities of an ecologically relevant company in the form of a budget. The entire life cycle of the product (including its disposal) is taken into consideration. The company's ecologically relevant input (raw materials, ancillary materials, operating materials, third-party services, energy, air, etc.) is compared with its output (products or services, emissions of waste materials, discharge etc.) during a well-defined period of time (period of analysis). This way, the company gets a general picture of the situation; ecological objectives can be formulated, controlled and influenced.



What are the points of environmental impact

During the preparation of an ecological balance, the product or service to be analysed is first defined. Subsequently the paths of the relevant materials and energy throughout their life are clarified, from the preparation of raw materials, to production, from consumption, to their disposal. Emissions in land, water and air, as well as the resources required, are determined. This shows the wide list of substances emitted, for example CO2, nitrogen oxides or nitrates, and also resources used, such as oil, water or soil. Polluting agents must be evaluated in relation to their effects on the environment and on humans. For this reason, the various effects, such as those on the health of human beings, on the climate or on ecosystems, are compared to each other.

The method of ecological scarcity, also known as the method of environmental impact points, was created with the aim of summarizing the different effects in a single unit of measurement (environmental impact points). The term "ecological scarcity" exposes the type of weighting, while the term "environmental impact points" refers to the unit of measurement in which the effects on the environment are represented.



Source: BAFU: Die Methode der Umweltbelastungspunkte (UBP). 2008

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