Cleaner Production

The reality of global warming is felt all over the world, just as the realities of the causes are known to be human activities; irrespective of their location on the globe. The manner in which the natural resources are unsustainably utilized is the root cause of such phenomenon like ozone layer depletion, acid rain global warming, loss of biodiversity and depletion of non-renewable water and energy resources.
The UNEP definition of Cleaner Production (CP) is:
“The continuous application of an integrated preventive environmental strategy to processes and products so as to reduce risk s to humans and the environment”

The main focus is an integrated waste minimization, environmental pollution prevention and sustainable development. In this sense sustainable development can be describe as:

“A development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

This course is in two parts, you need to successfully pass CP 1 to proceed to CP 2.
Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

Course Materials and Resources:

Detailed Syllabi

Pre-requisite: Progression rule or pre-requisite (depending on each department)
Lecturing Strategy: Lectures, demonstrations, assignments, case studies, seminars, industrial trips
Assessment: Mini Tests, Reports, Examinations, Practical & presentations (100%CE)
Duration: 4 hour(s) per week (15 weeks)
Self Study Time: 60 hrs
Notional hours: 120 hrs
Recommended Sequence: Semester 5/ 6 within NQF level 7
Professional Role: The students to master environmental and resource management concepts for enhancing their professional practices.

Learning Outcomes:
Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • describe the non-monetary and economical drivers of CP
  • describe the advantages of CP concepts and techniques in a broader environmental and business context
  • describe the synergic concept of CP, Lean and other sustainability concepts
  • apply the CP process to solving business problems relating to waste, environmentand resources man agement
  • evaluate and recommend CP options for different business case studies
  • synthesis CP concepts into business objectives


1. Introduction to Cleaner Production (CP) and sustainability.

  • Definitions of CP terminologies
  • The CP concept
  • Concept of Lea n, industrial ecology, environmental accounting
  • CP Barriers & Drivers
  • CP approach – the five concepts; re-use/recycling, house keeping, technology modification, material substitution and product modification
  • New methods in CP

2. CP in a broader environmental context

  • Safety, Health and Environment
  • Waste management (water, energy solid waste etc)
  • Life cycle analysis (from cradle to the grave)

3. CP in Business and social context

  • Environmental accounting
  • Operational efficiency and competitiveness
  • Environmental liabilities and compliance
  • Corporate image

4. The CP cycle

  • Planning and organisation
  • Basic CP tools for the identification of opportunities
  • Prioritization and evaluation
  • Implementation
  • Measurement and review

5. Application of CP concepts and techniques in Case studies

  • Evaluating walk-through reports
  • Scoping studies
  • CP projects

Reading List

1. Towards cleaner production methods
Dana Silk, 1992
ISSN 0028-0844.

2. Cleaner production and consumption : challenges and opportunities in East and Southern
Nonita T Yab, c1999
ISBN 0797420185.
3. Industrial Ecology
T.E Graedel and B.R Allenby: Printice hall ©1995
ISBN 013-125238

Module 1: Introduction to CP and Sustainability

The term ‘Cleaner Production’ can be misunderstood and hence it is very important to start up by defining and explaining what it means. On the other hand, the term sustainability is more easily understood, but does not capture all the elements of cleaner production; it is therefore used to complement the term cleaner production.

Module 2: CP in a Broader Environmental Context

‘CP’ focuses on the production process, and continuously seeks opportunities for improving the process, particularly with the view to reducing costs. Yet the CP process itself has to take place in and should take cognisance of the legal, social and environmental context of the production process. This module will discuss of some the main issues involved in this broader context, including the Health and Safety (of workers and of surrounding communities), the immediate and possible cumulative environmental impacts of the manufacturing process, and product safety.


Module 3: CP in a Business and Social Context

In this module we will briefly introduce the concept of environmental accounting and show how it relates to cleaner production and corporate responsibility and its impact on corporate image. Environmental accounting is gradually becoming a standard accounting procedure for corporations, due to pressure from regulators, shareholders and the huge concern over the climate changes being experienced.

Module 4: The CP Cycle

This module will take you through a journ ey that is cyclic; meaning that cleaner production is not a once-off activity, but a continuous process. The new CP thinking is that there is always room for improvement be it in productions of products or service delivery. The CP cycle involves planning
and organising, identification of opportunities, prioritizing and evaluation, implementation and measurement and review. We will look at each of these activities and discuss how they are carried out.

Module 5: Application of CP Techniques

You have now acquired sufficient knowledge regarding CP and now it is time to see how these theories come together to benefit a business venture. We will consider four case studies were CP principles have been applied with great benefits.