Manufacturing Waste Reduction & Recycling Tips

No manufacturing process can totally avoid waste production. However, the manufacturing industry is often the target of heavy criticism when it comes to its production of excess waste. In a time where environmental consciousness and minimising wasted materials is of such central focus, businesses are often scrutinised for the particulars of their manufacturing process, so it’s important that manufacturing plants have some form of waste-minimising system in place.

Many people recognise the key principles of effective recycling and waste disposal from their household practices. However, in a manufacturing plant/facility setting – the volume of waste can be far more challenging to manage. In this blog from SL Recycling, we outline some tips for manufacturing businesses looking to limit the volume of waste they produce.

Modify Your Packaging

When looking to reduce the waste generated by a manufacturing process, many businesses choose to modify their product packaging. There is a selection of ways in which packaging can be modified to reduce its environmental impact.

Firstly, and most simply, many businesses attempt to limit their packaging to reduce the waste generated during the manufacturing process. Packaging can be easily re-designed to require less material – with less packaging per unit resulting in a reduced quantity of waste generation overall. In the past, many products have been surrounded by layers and layers of wasteful packaging. As packaging designers have become more aware of this, more streamline designs have become increasingly poplar.

In instances where packaging has already been reduced or redesigned, reusable packaging can be produced from a selection of sustainable materials. Single use materials should be avoided and swapped for more environmentally friendly alternatives as environmental liability acquires greater importance for all businesses.

Volume Reduction

Another tip for limiting waste in manufacturing processes is reducing product volume wherever possible, whether this be in term of products created or materials ordered. Once a day of work is done, it is important to assess any leftover waste, especially if the same leftovers continue to emerge. Regularly re-assessing the volume of product sold and the quantity of material ordered to make said products can seem tiresome but can make a huge difference. Keeping track of any disparities between supply and demand will always be a great method of limiting waste.

Closed Loop Manufacturing

Another method of limiting waste and keeping materials in circulation is referred to as closed loop manufacturing. Closed loop manufacturing sees post-production waste being recollected and used for another process.

It is also important that a manufacturer keeps track of the stock it already has in circulation. This sits hand in hand with reducing the quantity of ordered materials – a business should always make sure that no potentially useful materials are being forgotten about, whether that be through inefficient production procedures or poor warehouse organisation.

Another area to consider when aiming to keep materials in circulation is the effectiveness of machinery. High precision engineering can help limit unnecessary damage to materials which in turn lengthens a material’s life.

Minimise Water Usage

Manufacturing processes can often use a lot of water, which can in turn lead to a lot of waste. Another way of limiting manufacturing waste is to keep an eye on the water resource, whether that be by annual reviews or by capturing, treating and re-using, depending on the health protocols to be followed for your particular product.

Outsource to Waste Management Company

When demand gets overwhelming, one of the most reliable ways to manage waste is through the employment of a specialist waste management company.

By outsourcing waste management, manufacturers can be confident that their waste needs are tended to in the most environmentally efficient and regulation compliant manner.

It is also likely that manufacturers will produce large quantities of waste that could be expensive to dispose of or recycle – outsourcing waste management can be extremely cost effective with large quantities of material inviting appealing scaled rates.

When considering outsourcing, however, it is important to pick your waste management company carefully as to avoid incorrect disposal practices, unnecessarily lengthened disposal processes or hiked up fees. For more information on outsourcing waste management, please see our previous blog: Should Your Business Outsource its Waste Management?

Waste Management with SL Recycling

For more information about the waste management services available with SL Recycling, get in touch today. Our waste collection services can be tailored to businesses of any scale and can account for a large variety of waste types. These include cardboard recycling, plastic recycling, wood recycling, hazardous waste management, general waste, food waste, waste processing and metal recycling.

Our expert team are on hand to offer advice and guidance across a host of waste management sectors including that for manufacturing businesses. Contact our team today to find out more or to request a free, no obligation quote.

See more: What Plastics Can and Cannot be Recycled?