Reduction in environmental impact

Posted by stephen 24/04/2015 0 Comment(s)

At a Glance


Larkin engineering have introduced a number of initiative to become more environmentally friendly as a result of participating in CGPP4. The project focused on product eco-design to minimise resources and material consumption. The company also examined potential opportunity to minimise water consumption and improve energy efficiency in the factory.


The CGPP initiatives introduced were successful in improving the overall performance of the company.  Savings of 38% in material on one bin type redesigned was achieved equating to a 34% reduction in Kg CO2 per unit manufactured versus the original product sold before CGPP.

The company also introduced product take-back and refurbished damaged bins for clients thus extending the life of these bins rather than replacing them with new ones.

The team worked to introduce rainwater harvesting, improve productivity, reduce energy consumption and paint consumption.

2008 –CP-7-S2


Larkin Engineering


Larkin engineering manufactures a range of products and are specialists in the design of litter bins, recycling units and street furniture. The plant is located in Tuam Co Galway. The company currently employ twenty five people in Ireland. The company is renowned for its products and is now the main supplier of street furniture both in Ireland and the UK.


Aims of this project


The main aims of the project:

1. To promote improvements in eco-design by focussing on prevention of and minimisation of waste.

2. Reduction in water consumption and improve energy efficiencies in manufacturing

3. To evaluate the potential to lease products and extend the life of the product.

4. To improve productivity by employing world class manufacturing practices

There were a number of opportunities that were considered before establishing clear objectives. The team reviewed best practice and visited other factories who had good environmental standards.




Eco-Design training was delivered to design and manufacturing engineers. In eco-design and waste minimisation the main elements were to reduce the resource and material being consumed per bin manufactured. The jumbo bin was then redesigned with input from all stakeholders.

The material used to make the bin has been reduced by 38% as the bin case was redesigned to bug the bin liner reducing any unnecessary excess material. The functionality and usability of the bin was improved as a result of the redesigned.

The metal waste arising from the manufacturing process has reduced by 50% compared to 2008 baseline data.               This is due to improved utilisation of materials. The team also diverted over three tonnes of waste off cuts into a new product, a hanging basket frame and prototypes.

A two way recycling unit that was redesigned saved 30% in material content saving over 1 tonne of raw materials on units sold since the redesign.


Life Cycle Analysis


(LCA) was undertaken to compare the original 120 Litre Jumbo bin with the redesigned Jumbo bin and also with the alternative of refurbishing a bin taken back from the customer.

As a value added service we offered county councils the option of returning damaged of grubby looking bins to our factory and we refurbished them by replacing damaged components and re-spraying the bins to make them look as good as new again. This extended the life of over 500 bins that would otherwise have been most likely replaced with new bins.

· The results of the LCA show that refurbishing a bin uses the least amount of materials and energy i.e.  70% less raw material and saves 113Kg of CO2 per bin compared to the original design.

· The next best option is the redesigned Jumbo bin where 38% less materials are consumed, Energy saved is 949 Mj and a saving of 80.5 Kg CO2 per bin produced. This is equivalent to amount used to travel 520Km in an average family car.


Water minimisation


The primary consumption in the production process is the water jet cutting machine. Under the CGPP we introduced rain water harvesting from the plants roof.  This has displaced approximately 166m3 per year.


Waste reduction


Improving utilisation of metal by maximising metal cut from each sheet  has helped to reduce the amount of metal waste metal being sent for recycling by 35% from the production process.


Energy saving


The company has transferred to Airtricity for an increased percentage of renewable power and have focussed on reducing energy consumption.

Through managing loads and reducing the production hours the has been a 50% reduction in electricity consumption in 2011 compared to 2010.

A new compressor has been fitted that is saving 7kW per hour as it is a smaller compressor, air leaks have been resolved and air pressure reduced by 2.5 bar.

Manufacturing Efficiency

By deploying some world class manufacturing techniques the engineers have improved the factory layout, provided gigs and fixtures and set up material holding locations for all raw material required to manufacture products.

Productivity has increased by 19% on the manufacture of high volume units for example wheel barrows.


Paint savings


The team tested water based paints but after much consideration selected a polyurethane with a high solid content that reduce volatile organic compound emissions by 20% compared to emissions in 2008.


Overall the CGPP project identified opportunities for improvement to the company. The benefits are increasing all the time which have been due to the increased level of environmental awareness and new approaches the staff have to designing products. As a result of these new ideas there has been sustainable saving both environmentally and economically improving the companies competitiveness.



Many lessons were learnt during the duration of the CGPP. One was the importance of applying eco-design at the design stage of all new projects as opposed to redesigning products which is less efficient.  Environmental awareness training and communication  was worthwhile. Participation in the programme has illustrated identification of environmental opportunities can achieve savings in environmental and finical terms.

More information

For more information on this project please contact:

Noel Larkin

Larkin Engineering

Weir Rd. Tuam

Tele/fax 093 24629