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Sugar producer touts sustainability as key to reducing environmental impact

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Posted: Friday, February 11, 2022. 10:50 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: In a word, the key to maintaining a reduced environmental footprint in a necessarily messy industry such as sugar production is “sustainability.”

Here is how Seidy Lienez, environmental health and safety regional coordinator for American Sugar Refining/Belize Sugar Industries Limited (ASR/BSI) put it during a recent tour of the factory to mark the upgrade of its air emission system: “When we look at sustainability, that is a major focus for the company right now. We look at reusing material or reusing the impact of our operations. And so, what you saw on the tour – you were looking at the system – we are re-using water, so that we don’t have to draw more from the [river] but recirculate, and let that serve as the wetting factor for the ashes that we are trying to minimize and contain and truck and eventually dispose [of.]”

She adds that this re-use gets the most of this component, while even the end product of the system – the muddy, wet ash collected in trucks – is treated and re-used in the cane fields.

Every single viable cane stalk is ground to its essential elements, producing many by-products – sugar and molasses most of all, but also bagasse for electricity within and without the compound, from which the ashes are returned to the fields – “ashes to ashes,” one might say.

“BSI continues to demonstrate, tangibly, as a company, our continued commitment to our environmental and social responsibility,” said Mac McLachlan, VP of International Relations, ASR in a company statement marking the occasion. He continued, “While we are guided by compliance with all regulatory requirements, we are propelled by our commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen.”

The miller says it will continue to play an active part in protecting the nation’s environment and through our Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) department continues to work closely with the Department of the Environment (DOE).

Phase 2 of the air emission project is scheduled to take place during the 2022 off-crop period. When the second replacement takes place, the anticipation is for cleaner emissions and a more reliable grinding rate. The air emissions project is a part of the company’s Environmental Compliance Plan (ECP) commitments with the DOE.

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