How to Reduce Waste at a Manufacturing Plant

If you work at or run your own manufacturing plant, then you’ll know how much your site produces every day – not only specific products, but also waste. These waste products can be an inevitable part of your processes but are you doing enough to keep these to a minimum?

You might know what the problems may be, but aren’t sure what the solutions are or how they will affect your plant. Here are five areas that you could look into to reduce your waste output at your site. You never know, implementing them may be a great move for you and your organization.

Minimize water usage

Wastewater and industrial sludge can make up a significant amount of manufacturing waste, so minimizing water use in your operation can reduce these portions. Employing methods such as reverse osmosis, using chemical agents or dry machining, for example, can help you to do this.

Reduce packaging materials

Think about redesigning any packaging you have for your products, so they use as little material as possible. You could also include recyclable or reusable packaging within deliveries for cushioning, such as air packs. Buying items in bulk will also reduce the amount of packaging you receive too.

Recover, reuse and sort

Make sure you recover as much waste as you can from your sites. You can do this in many different ways, which may include filtration, centrifugation or electrolysis. Also, what you consider as waste may not be to other companies: you can offer this through waste exchange programs with these brands.

You can also recycle certain materials, such as paper, metal and plastic, but recycling hazardous materials may not have any environmental benefits. Using shredders can help reduce the size of some waste, too (for example, wood, plastics, rubber and asphalt). You may wish to use baling wire from when packaging up particular materials ready for recycling  which will make it easier to bundle together some compacted waste for transportation, for instance.

Do an inventory

A number of brands end up over-ordering materials they need to fulfill production. This is especially the case when it comes to made-to-order conditions. So, to avoid ordering excess raw materials, your excess inventory should be looked at before you place an order. You can eliminate your need for additional warehouse and equipment space, as well as excessive inventory, by using just-in-time inventory and lean manufacturing – matching production to real-time demand. Have a look at what you do to store and handle raw materials: you could have significant waste just by not emptying containers properly.

Carry out training

This might be the best way to inform staff of your recycling program. Ensure they know what recycling can do for our planet, and how it affects them and the environment. By showing what the effects on them and their family may be, the more likely a person will want to help. Demonstrate where this waste goes and, if you can, what happens to it.

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