20 Easy Ways to Eliminate Waste in Production
Waste is something manufacturing companies can’t avoid, as it’s been ingrained within production processes for as long as they’ve existed. All businesses should take a proactive approach towards minimising waste. Manufacturing companies are certainly no exception, with the amount of waste produced within this sector having a profound environmental impact on the world. In the UK alone, the commercial and industrial sectors generated 43.9 million tonnes of waste in 2018.
Eliminating waste in your company may seem like an impossible task. Still, there are many ways to innovate and improve your processes to help minimise the environmental impact of your business — and you could also save money along the way. Read on for 20 easy ways to eliminate waste in production.
- Identify Key Areas of Waste
Key areas of waste within any business are those that provide no value to the customer or client and fail to contribute to your bottom line. If you’ve not thoroughly assessed these areas previously — or haven’t in a while — it’s time to identify what they are. Perhaps you’ve been producing too many goods or procuring an excess of raw materials?
- Manage Inventory Efficiently
Efficient inventory management is vital within any streamlined manufacturing company and can significantly impact waste reduction. Evaluate your current processes and improve your strategy by reducing excess raw materials in stock and forecasting your inventory needs in the future.
- Manage Your Purchasing
When considering ways to eliminate waste, the most effective is to avoid creating it in the first place. Managing your purchasing means making more informed and responsible buying decisions, focusing on reusable or recyclable products and ensuring that all materials are necessary.
- Waste Reduction Audits
Carrying out a waste reduction audit is one of the best ways to eliminate waste in production. A professional waste management service can help you achieve zero waste to landfill status, driving real change for your business. An audit will provide valuable insight into your company’s waste flow and give you actionable solutions to help you take control of it.
- Reduce Packaging Materials
In 2018, packaging waste generated was estimated at 174.1kg per inhabitant in the EU. As product packaging is such a significant contributor to waste, manufacturing companies are in a unique position to drive real environmental change by redesigning their products. If you can use less packaging or replace it with reusable or recyclable materials, this would be a great way to reduce waste within your business.
- Choose Recyclable Materials
If you don’t already use recyclable materials in production, would it be possible to make some changes? Steel, copper and aluminium are examples of environmentally friendly manufacturing materials that can easily be recycled, helping businesses reduce the amount of waste they create. More waste steel is recovered in the UK and recycled than all other materials combined. For more information on how you could implement metal recycling in your business, look at our guide to how metal recycling works.
- Keep the Waste Management Hierarchy in Mind
Eliminating waste in production means applying the waste management hierarchy across all business processes. This conceptual framework ranks waste management options, prioritising waste prevention, followed by reuse, recycling, recovery and disposal.
- Regularly Audit Vendors
When thinking about eliminating waste, it’s not just your own company you need to consider. To identify areas of improvement across your whole supply chain, you should be regularly auditing your vendors, too.
- Set Waste Reduction Goals
Over the coming years, businesses of all types will be expected to do more to tackle waste management as part of the UK government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. As a business, you can get ahead and go one step further by setting your own clear waste reduction goals and outlining the steps you’ll need to take to meet these.
- Allocate a Budget
Any waste reduction goals should be set with an allocated budget, ensuring you can hit the ground running and have the funds required to meet future targets.
- Involve Your Employees
Make waste elimination a company-wide priority and get all personnel involved in the process. Waste reduction efforts are more successful when carried out collectively, and even the smallest changes on an individual level can combine to make a big difference.
- Introduce Waste Reduction Training
Get teams across the business on board by establishing ongoing training and education in waste reduction. This will increase awareness and understanding among your employees. No one knows your business better than your own people, so you may even find that they come up with innovative ways to eliminate waste you hadn’t thought of.
- Assign Responsibility
Assigning waste management responsibilities means you can more easily keep track of your progress, and employees clearly understand what needs to be done by who to achieve waste reduction goals.
- Reward Waste Reduction Efforts
Incentivise employees to take the initiative by rewarding and publicising their waste-reduction efforts and sharing successes with the whole organisation.
- Leverage Automation for Your Business
Automation can be an efficient way to reduce waste within manufacturing businesses, with equipment programmed with tight tolerances to minimise scrap material produced.
- Maintain Waste Management Machinery
If you’ve already got waste management machinery, it pays to look after it properly. Preventative maintenance ensures machinery is always functioning at total capacity and that your waste management efforts are as efficient as possible.
- Consider Closed-Loop Manufacturing
Closed-loop manufacturing means reusing material waste created during production to create additional products and using recycled products to create new items. Are there ways you could be utilising your manufacturing waste rather than sending it to a landfill?
- Separate Your waste
The importance of waste segregation in an effective waste management strategy can’t be overstated. Ensure that all hazardous waste is disposed of separately from your non-hazardous waste to avoid the contamination of safe refuse, increase recycling rates and lower waste disposal costs.
- Implement a Waste Exchange Program
Manufacturing is an industry in which one business’s waste can be another’s resource. Consider taking part in a waste exchange program and discover whether your waste could be utilised as a resource for another company. Perhaps you could also find a use for another organisation’s industrial waste within your production processes?
- Hire a Professional Waste Management Business
A professional waste management business can provide you with the expertise required to manage your waste effectively, responsibly and efficiently. By making industrial waste more environmentally friendly and less costly for your organisation to manage, waste management experts can help you drive change within your business and meet your zero waste to landfill goals.
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