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Ways to Reduce Manufacturing Waste Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Effective Ways to Reduce Manufacturing Waste

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Manufa­cturing waste will be generated in every manufa­cturing plant. It is important that you establish practices to minimize the generation of waste. Some types of commonly observed wastes in manufa­cturing facilities include waste from overpr­odu­ction, defects, inventory, unnece­ssary motion and transp­ort­ation, waiting times, over-p­roc­essing, and unused time and creativity of employees.

1. Efficient Inventory Management

You can reduce manufa­cturing waste, according to Greenne, by contro­lling the materials being used in the manufa­cturing process. Reduce the amount of excess raw materials in stock and quantity of hazardous materials to bring down the amount of waste generated. Order only the needed quantity of any material and only the amount needed for a specific period of time.

2. Reduce Packaging Materials

Redesign the product packaging to ensure it uses the minimum amount of materials. Try to incorp­orate reusable or recyclable packaging content, such as air packs or corn-based packing peanuts, to provide cushio­ning. Buy products in bulk as it will have reduced packaging.

3. Volume Reduction

Volume reduction refers to the segreg­ation techniques that remove the hazardous portion of waste from the nonhaz­ardous portion. These methods help in reducing the volume and the cost of waste disposal.

They can be broadly divided into 2 categories — waste concen­tration and source segreg­ation. The former may increase the likelihood of the material being reused or recycled and the latter consists of different types of materials within the waste being treated separately so that the metal value in the sludge can be recovered.

4. Recover, Reuse, Sort

Recover as much waste as you can from onsite and offsite locations by employing different techniques like electr­olysis, filtra­tion, reverse osmosis, centri­fug­ation, etc.

Recycling is another popular choice. Recycle materials like paper, plastic, and metal regularly, and avoid recycling hazardous materials as it rarely has any enviro­nmental benefits. Industrial shredders are critical in this process as they can be used to reduce waste by condensing asphalt, wood, rubber, and plastics to a fraction of their original size.

Sorting the waste ensures that the recyclable items are getting to the right place. Assign someone the respon­sib­ility of monitoring the bins. They can then find a viable solution for elimin­ating, reducing or reusing the generated waste.

What you consider as waste can be a resource for some other business. Exchange the generated waste through a waste exchange program with such busine­sses.

5. Establish a Preven­tative Mainte­nance Schedule

Although wear and tear is a normal occurrence in any manufa­cturing process, if regular mainte­nance is not performed, your business will end up wasting a lot of time and money on seriously damaged equipment.

It would be more beneficial to your budget and control the costs to prevent a breakdown instead of reacting to a breakdown later, which results in unnece­ssary overtime and increased shipping costs to expedite delivery.

6. Label and Organize the Warehouse Properly

Ensure your warehouses are organized and well-m­arked. All the locations of inventory, tools, supplies, and assets necessary to manufa­cturing processes must be clearly marked throughout the warehouse. Over time, the markings may get faded, non-ex­istent, or outdated. While this may not be a hindrance for longtime employees, the new hires and temporary workers may have a tough time navigating through a warehouse that isn’t organized or marked properly.

This may result in incorrect finished goods being shipped to customers or increased time being spent on searching for the right tool needed for an urgent repair. Replace the faded tags and repaint the floor lines regularly.

7. Adopt a Closed Loop Manufa­cturing System

Green chemistry would be a good technique to reduce waste generated by various processes, but if it isn’t viable for you, consider a closed loop manufa­cturing system. This way, you can keep track of your inventory and utilize recycled materials in the production cycle.

Moreover, closed loop systems help in extending the lifespan of chemicals by maximizing how effici­ently they are used. This helps in reducing the amount of contam­ination being produced and minimizes the number of new chemicals that need to be purchased.

8. Minimize Water Usage

Industrial sludge and wastewater make up a signif­icant portion of manufa­cturing waste streams. You can reduce these elements by minimizing water usage in the operat­ions. This can be achieved by using chemical drying agents, reverse osmosis, dry machining, or membrane biological reactor.

Encourage employees to cut down on drinking bottled water as plastic drinking bottles constitute a major fraction of plastic waste generated. Switch to drinking in glasses or promote the use of reusable bottles in the workplace.