Waste Management Solutions

13 Ways to Reduce Manufacturing Facility Waste

In Reduce Waste Costs, Waste Management by David FahrionLeave a Comment

Manufacturing facility managers can manage the waste in their facility by reducing the amount of waste produced in the factory efficiently. If you want to reduce your factory waste, here are thirteen suggestions that can reduce the amount of waste that your business is producing and help you reduce your manufacturing facility waste costs:

1. Measure Your Waste

If you do not know how much waste your facility is producing, how can you effectively reduce it? By measuring your waste, you can share the results and challenge everyone within your company to reduce the quantity of waste they produce. If you see that you are creating a lot of a specific type of waste sourced from one particular area in your business, you can take measures for reducing that type of waste from that area of your business. Measurements can be by weight or by cubic yard.

For weight, you can gather the information from your waste hauler if you are using compactors or roll off containers. If you are using front load type bins, you will need to conduct a bin audit each day before the hauler comes to measure the amount and type of waste in the containers to give you the total cubic yards you are generating. This will allow you to evaluate alternative collection methods that can provide cost savings and greater efficiencies.

2. Evaluate Your Waste

It is important to know not only how much waste is being generated but also what waste is being generated. A waste characterization is a process whereby all elements of the waste stream are separated and weighed to determine what streams can be reduced, reused, repurposed, or recycled. A waste characterization is critical in having a complete picture of what needs to be done to reduce costs and improve sustainability.

3. Monitor the 9 Generation Points

There are nine waste generation points within most industrial facilities. These include warehousing and distribution, offices, food services, grounds, construction, manufacturing, vehicle maintenance, retail, housing and hospitality. By monitoring these nine generation points, you can get a better idea of what is being generated and how to best capture the recyclables.

By monitoring these nine generation points, you can get a better idea of what is being generated and how to best capture the recyclables.

4. Look for Recycling Opportunities

Once you have completed a waste characterization and monitored the nine generation points for your facility, look at the items identified, determine the estimated volume, and look for markets for each of the sub-streams. Many items that were once allowed in single-stream recycling programs such as film plastic are not prohibited but are still recyclable. There are innovative programs that can recycle film plastic if it is source separated.

5. Be a More Efficient Business

Reviewing your manufacturing process from inbound materials to shipping out of the product will be a great help in reducing waste. You should try and discover a new way to use raw materials more efficiently. For example, look if you can reuse materials within your business's manufacturing process.

6. Consider a Waste Exchange

For some, one business's waste can be another's resource. If you would like to reduce your company’s waste, consider the waste that your company is producing and discover if your trash might be a resource for another business. So, by exchanging your waste instead of disposing of it, you can prevent your waste from ever becoming waste at all.

reduce the amount of factory packaging

7. Reduce the Amount of Packaging

You can reduce packing in two ways. Primarily, you can reduce the amount of packaging on your items or products that your factory produces. Secondly, compare the packaging of products you purchase. Many products in the market have reduced packaging when bought in bulk, so this can be a great way of reducing the amount of waste you are producing. You may also be able to require the supplier to take back the packaging for reuse or recycling.

8. Think About Food/Organic Waste

Another waste reduction method involves food and organic waste. Look into the food waste your employees produce in your facility, break room, or wherever your employees eat their food or organic waste that may be a by-product of your manufacturing process. California and many other states are now requiring businesses that generate a specified amount of waste to procure organics recycling services.

Food waste and organics in the landfill produce methane gas when as it decomposes. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. When people think of global warming, they also think about carbon dioxide emissions, but methane gas is roughly 30 times more potent of a heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide is.

9. Cut Down on Bottled Water

Many facilities produce waste in the form of plastic drinking bottles. While recycling plastic bottles is very important for the environment, recycling isn't the first step on the waste hierarchy. It is much better for the environment to eliminate the use of plastic bottles.

By removing water bottles and instead using drinking glasses one can prevent plastic bottles from becoming waste, or at least reduce the number of waste plastic bottles that your company produces. Your business can also promote the use of reusable bottles within the workplace for drinks within the workplace.

reduce the amount of bottled water

10. Train Employees on Best Waste Reduction Practices

It is critical to the success of your program that all employees are on board with the program and practices designed for your facility. This can be accomplished through employee meetings, company newsletters, recycling incentive programs, and any number of creative training methods.

11. Use Recycling Signs

If your facility has recycling systems in place, but your employees are not using them to their full potential, then use signs! For example, if employees throw paper into the general bin, consider using signs so that you promote recycling in your factory — place signs guiding people to recycle their waste.

You can go one step further and try reducing the number of general waste bins at your workplace and keep recycling bins in more prominent locations. For example, an aluminum recycling bin next to the drinks vending machine or paper recycling bin next to the printer.

12. Keep Up-to-Date with Current Innovations and Legislation

Recycling markets, equipment and legislation is constantly changing. This requires that you stay on top of the innovations and legislation to assure you manage your waste in the most efficient way while staying in compliance with the laws and regulations in your area.

13. Hire a Professional

A waste and recycling professional services company will be able to guide you through the above steps designed to manage your waste effectively, responsibly, and that causes minimal disruption to your business. Take Waste Control up on their free audit and analysis of your existing waste practices to help you reduce your manufacturing facility waste and save money on waste services!

About the Author

David Fahrion

David Fahrion serves as the President of Waste Control after a 40-year career in the waste and recycling industry. Prior to joining Waste Control, he worked exclusively for CR&R and its affiliates since 1986 serving as the President of the Solid Waste Management Division. During his career, he worked on all facets of the solid waste management business from dispatching and routing to contract negotiations and state facility permitting.