Transforming manufacturing waste to protect the environment

At our Vehicle Group plant in Bosconero, Italy, our waste management approach is turning manufacturing byproducts into safe, valuable materials ready for reuse or recycling—significantly reducing our environmental impact.

Turning manufacturing byproducts into valuable materials for reuse and recycling

In Bosconero, Italy, we’re reducing our site’s environmental footprint, slashing waste to landfill, and lowering our consumption of raw materials with a different approach to the grinding sludge produced in our oil filtration activities.

Part of our Vehicle Group, the Bosconero site produces engine valves for truck and passenger car manufacturers. A considerable amount of oil is used as coolant during the grinding of these components, which is then filtered to remove contaminants and enable its reuse. However, even after this process, around 300 tons of unusable grinding sludge is still left per year.

Classified as EWC 12 01 18 hazardous waste, this sludge is a mixture of used grinding oil and metal fragments. Posing a significant risk to both human and ecological health due to its high oil content, this sludge is costly and labor intensive to dispose of safely.

In 2019, we invested in a new briquetting press to enhance our oil filtration process and optimize waste management. The briquette machine reduces the amount of hazardous grinding sludge created by converting it into non-hazardous solid blocks, while also enabling more oil to be recaptured.

Investing to protect the environment

Since oil filtration grinding sludge is produced in large quantities at Bosconero, we targeted it as the first step in our waste reduction initiative.

A briquetting press compresses the metal fragments in grinding sludge to create solid, safe, and easy-to-handle cylindrical blocks. This compression process also extracts more oil for reuse.

These blocks are left with an oil content under the threshold for hazardous material and their solid state also prevents oil from seeping into the environment. Furthermore, with a nickel density of 10-15%, ‘briquettes’ are interesting for recycling.

eaton picture hands holding grinding swarf en us
While we already had an older press at the Bosconero facility, it was less effective—requiring regular maintenance, recovering a smaller amount of oil, and being unable to produce briquettes certified as non-hazardous at the end of the process. To address these issues, we invested in a new press connected to the site’s oil filtration system. We also established a commercial agreement to sell our briquettes to a preferred supplier that specializes in processing scrap metal for reuse in other industries.
eaton-picture-briquettes-en-us.jpg

Less waste, more recycling

The initiative in Bosconero reflects our firm commitment to prevent pollution, to protect our communities, and to conserve natural resources wherever possible.

We’ve significantly reduced the volume of hazardous grinding sludge created in our operations. With a new briquetting press added to our oil filtration system, we are now recapturing around 45 m3 of oil for reuse per year, as well as producing safe briquettes high in nickel that are ideal for recycling. Furthermore, thanks to our commercial agreement, these leftover manufacturing materials are enabling a circular economy.

As well as reducing waste to landfill and our consumption of fresh oil, our ability to rework safe materials has also enabled significant savings and easier waste management. Additionally, the resale of this valuable manufacturing byproduct has turned a major operating cost into a new revenue stream. 

As a result of our success at Bosconero, our other vehicle plants are implementing similar recycling initiatives. 

300 tons
Of hazardous sludge targeted for reduction
45 m3
Of oil recovered per year
50
%
Eaton’s 2030 target for lowering direct carbon emissions
“I’m thrilled to be taking an active role in this team effort to reduce waste and to conserve natural resources—helping to create a safer environment for ourselves, for our communities, and for the next generation.”
Emmanuele, EHS manager, Bosconero, Italy

We make what matters work. Sustainably.

We are powered by our vision, driven by strategy, guided by our aspirational goals and committed to doing business right.
“Eaton encourages everyone to drive environmental stewardship and I’m proud to have invested my time and effort into this great team project. I’m excited to see such fantastic results too, particularly our ability to drive a circular economy with suppliers.”
Yulia, Southern Europe country buyer, Supply Chain Management Indirect, EMEA

2030 Sustainability Goals

We’re stepping up our commitment to improve the quality of life and the environment. Our 2030 targets include reducing the carbon emissions from our operations by half, lowering product and supply chain emissions, certifying all manufacturing sites as zero waste to landfill, and achieving carbon neutral operations by 2030.
“Reducing consumption of natural resources, reusing materials, and recycling waste is essential to meet our ambitious 2030 sustainability goals—and I’m delighted this project at our Bosconero facility delivered on all three areas, creating huge economic and environmental benefits.”
Luke, Facility services category manager, Supply Chain Management Indirect, EMEA

Waste reduction

We focus our waste reduction efforts on diverting waste from the landfill in order to reduce our environmental footprint, conserve valuable operational resources and help the communities that we serve.
“This outstanding initiative proves that environmental and commercial goals aren’t mutually exclusive—we can and must achieve both. I’m so excited our team enabled a win-win scenario in Bosconero, not just for our business, but for the planet too.”
Margherita Adragna, president, Vehicle Group, EMEA

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