Department of the Environment

About us | Contact us | Publications

Settlements Header ImageSettlements Header ImageSettlements Header Image

Environment industries archive


Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

Cleaner Production Demonstration Project at CSR Wood Panels

Table of Contents

Woodchip pile

Executive Summary

Further Developments

1.0  Review of CSR Weathertex Operations

2.0  Planning and Organisation of Cleaner Production Project

2.1 Cleaner Production Approach used at CSR
2.2 Cleaner Production Opportunities Identified at CSR Wood Panels

      2.2.1 Reduced Board Defects
      2.2.2 Improved Paint Application
      2.2.3 Board Thickness
      2.2.4 Sale of Wood Waste
      2.2.5 Sale of Brick Strips
      2.2.6 Reduced Effluent
      2.2.7 Increased Pack Sizes
      2.2.8 Irrigation of Forest Plantation
      2.2.9 Operating Procedures

3.0  Cleaner Production Initiatives

3.1 Reduction in Board Rejects
      3.1.1 Detailed Evaluation of Opportunity
      3.1.2 Project Implementation
      3.1.3 Results
3.2 Reduced Paint Overspray
      3.2.1 Detailed Evaluation of Opportunity
      3.2.2 Project Implementation
      3.2.3 Results
3.3 Board Thickness Control
      3.3.1 Project Evaluation and Implementation
      3.3.2 Results
3.4 Sale of Solid Wood Waste
      3.4.1 Project Evaluation and Implementation
      3.4.2 Results
3.5 Sale of Brick Strips
      3.5.1 Project Evaluation and Implementation
      3.5.2 Results
3.6 Reduced Waste Water
      3.6.1 Detailed Evaluation of Opportunity
      3.6.2 Project Implementation
      3.5.3 Results
3.7 Increased Pack Sizes
      3.7.1 Detailed Evaluation of Opportunity
      3.7.2 Project Implementation
      3.7.3 Results
3.8 Implementation of Forest Plantation
      3.8.1 Project Evaluation and Implementation
      3.8.2 Results

4.0  Review of Project

5.0  Concluding Remarks

6.0  CSR's Perspective

List of Figures

Figure 1  Paint Usage Experiments

Executive Summary

The Cleaner Production Demonstration Project is an initiative of the Environment Australia - Environment Protection Group. The aim of the Project was to raise the awareness of Australian industry and actively promote cleaner production issues. This was to be achieved by conducting ten successful cleaner production demonstration projects in industry around Australia, documenting the benefits and experiences of the project, and publicising the results to wider industry. Dames & Moore, assisted by Energetics, were engaged as technical consultants on the project. The project commenced in June 1994, and ran for 27 months.

CSR Weathertex was selected as one of the ten companies to participate in the project. This case study report presents a record of the progress of the CSR Weathertex project, from initial meeting to project completion, and details the results of the project and any problems which may have been encountered.

CSR Weathertex is part of the CSR Timber Products division. It produces "Weathertex" manufactured wood paneling made from processed timber.

The plant has undergone a major and radical restructuring and downsizing during the period of the cleaner production program. Whilst the uncertainty created during this change initially halted cleaner production work, the new "leaner" focus ultimately produced far more impressive results than might otherwise have been the case.

The workforce has been re-organised into teams covering each production area. The teams have responsibility for achieving production targets and identifying the reasons for any shortfall. This has resulted in a rapid and very significant improvement in productivity and quality, leading to a vastly improved financial position.

Cleaner Production philosophies have been whole-heartedly embraced in a bid to return the plant to profitability. The impetus for this came from the Weathertex site personnel who recognised the financial value of reducing the cost of waste and inefficient practices. This approach has undoubtedly provided a rapid and low cost means of securing significant savings on the site.

Economic imperatives have forced rapid changes on the site and it was fortuitous that the project was running during this time to record the changes made and provide some assistance along the way. From a somewhat hesitant start, when it appeared financial and human resources would limit what could be achieved, the situation rapidly evolved to one where there were almost too many projects to track and record.

This report identifies 8 separate cleaner production opportunities:

Together these actions are saving and are expected to save over $1.3 million per year for the plant and have significantly contributed to the ongoing viability of the plant and the well being of the local community.

The improvements are almost all related to the change in work culture brought about by the change to the work team environment. This has been coupled with an improved understanding of the process through simple research and systematic monitoring of process variables. Other than the capital cost of retraining the work force, most of the projects have involved very little capital cost. The exceptions are the effluent works which were required to meet state EPA licence requirements. Improvements to the paint system required capital expenditure of around $50,000.

The changes implemented on this site are a model case study of what can be achieved through Cleaner Production processes.

1.0  Review of CSR Weathertex Operations

Further Developments, June 2001

Weathertex Pty Ltd is no longer a part of CSR Timber products and is now owned by a private consortium of directors based in Sydney. This change in ownership as of November 1998 means increased focus is placed within this particular business with views of increased productivity and efficiency.

The Cleaner Production Project undertaken in 1995 has had a significant impact on the viability and performance of the company. Many of the project opportunities recognised have been completed and updated over the last few years. This has resulted in large savings and growth of the business.

Increased awareness of the importance of reducing waste to remain economically profitable has been demonstrated by the overall reduction of the percentage of rejects during production from 13.5% (1994-95), to 6% (1995-96) to the current 4.4% (1999-01). This was also realised through improved maintenance scheduling and a change in production schedules to minimise changeovers.

Since the change in ownership, increased environmental focus has lead to the implementation of the following:


Tracey Moylan
Environmental Officer
PO Box 21
Raymond Terrace
Ph: 61 2 4980 3100
Fax: 61 2 4890 3133
Web site:
Date of implementation: 1995
Case study initially prepared: 1996 by Environment Australia as part of the Cleaner Production Demonstration Project
Last modified: June 2001.

Table of Contents