How To Reduce Waste In Manufacturing

Plenty has been said about industrial waste that’s pumped out regularly in manufacturing facilities and the impact it has on the environment. At the risk of stating the obvious, by far the most environment-friendly way to deal with waste is to cut the amount you produce.

Across industries and government, a lot of attention is now being paid to ways to reduce waste as one of the most sustainable ways to manage it. This is motivated by a need to reduce the risks associated with waste disposal to both employees and the public, the high costs of waste disposal and an increasing understanding of its environmental effects.

Here are some ways to minimize the amount of waste you produce:

1. Separate your waste. Ensure that you hazardous waste is disposed of separately from your non-hazardous waste. When you don’t do this, the safer refuse is contaminated, creating a larger amount of dangerous material that is harder and more expensive to get rid of. Put diversion systems into place for separation and temporary storage of hazardous substances.

2. Look at how you store your raw material. Keeping on hand only reasonable amounts of inventory, storing material close to its place of final use and ensuring things are stored according to recommended guidelines will go a long way in preventing spills and waste.

3. Improve your equipment. Check the design of the systems you use, upgrade to smarter systems where possible, check for ease of cleaning and ensure equipment is washed to recommended guidelines, as well as keep an eye on your filtration.

4. Reduce the use of water and other solvents. Solvents are used for cleaning and dissolving various chemicals and while unavoidable in certain manufacturing processes, need to be used responsibly. Further, monitor your use of water, and optimize your processes, so less is used.

5. Treat effluents. Treat your waste to remove as many hazardous substances as possible before disposal. Neutralizing acids, and filtering out solids to facilitate disposal of each separately are just some ideas. Use what works for your business.

6. Appoint a champion. Putting dedicated people in charge of your waste disposal creates a culture of responsibility. Start by creating individual or team roles to review the waste you produce and create an action plan, with targets, for reduction. When accountability rests with particular people, you will see better results. This role must also be tasked with creating awareness, so non-core personnel are aware of protocols.

7. Be responsible in the disposal waste from sources besides manufacturing. When you manage waste responsibly, you need to look at how you are dealing with the waste that comes from the processes that are not core to your operation. Think paper in your offices, recycling programs and more to take your commitment across the board.

Broadly, the goal remains to reduce where you can. Where waste is inevitable, recycle in an environmentally appropriate way. Disposal, whatever the method of release into the environment, should only be used where there is no other option and even then in complete accordance with environmentally safe guidelines that have been set out for your industry.