Caring for the environment

Sustainability really is good for business

In the late 1990’s the Michell Group recognised that sustainability was not only
good for the environment, it was also good for business.

Scouring and carbonising wool at Michell requires 36,000 litres of water per
tonne of clean wool, this is now world’s best practice. Ten years ago when
the project began it took 85,000 litres to wash a tonne of wool. Being located
in the driest state in the driest continent we understood the real value of
water and the security of supply. We then initiated a joint venture project
with the State government water supply department, SA Water. Michell had
identified a potential source of water but needed logistic and infrastructure
support that only the government could supply. The Michell factory located in
Salisbury on the outskirts of Adelaide is surrounded on two sides by the
urban spread of the city into the Adelaide hills, this was a ready source of
stormwater run off.

Once this source of water was identified the next problem was how to clean
the natural solids such as soil and vegetable matter and then where to store
the clean water. This is where some good luck came our way with the factory
being located on the large natural aquifers that surround the northern edge
of Adelaide. Working with the Salisbury council and SA Water a series of
3 containment dams were constructed and the stormwater passed through
these. This natural filtration process allowed the soil and vegetable
matter solids to settle and create a beautiful wetland area. The water once
cleaned is then pumped into the aquifers more than replacing the water
Michell pumps out to sustain production.

We then turned our attention to output water and how we could improve the
quality and extract more wool and solids. So far many millions has been
invested in upgrading wool grease extraction and contaminant separation
equipment. The quality of waste water discharge has been reduced ten fold
in suspended solids. All our organic waste is reprocessed organically on
site into commercial grade compost.

This project has established new techniques and technologies that the
Michell group have implemented in their factory in China. The outcome has
been so successful, the story featured in Charles Fishman’s book
“The Big Thirst”. Sustainability really is good for business.

Contact us now to discuss your requirements, a Michell Wool expert will be in touch within 24 hours