Industrial Waste Management: 11 Valuable Strategies

By Lilly Miller

Factories and other manufacturing buildings are something we don’t really like, but can’t live without. On one hand, manufacturing facilities provide us with many useful products that make life better, more practical, and easier. However, as a side-effect, they also produce hazardous, polluting, and non-biodegradable trash that can end up in the air, water, and soil if not disposed of properly. Anyone who runs a factory or any manufacturing business should come up with waste management strategies that will not only allow them to keep working under the environmental laws of the area but also reduce their carbon footprint. What are some of these industrial waste management strategies to consider?

Industrial Waste Management: landfill management

Build a green team

First and foremost, it’s crucial to put together a team of employees from different stages of production and different departments who will come up with different strategies and help maintain your selected strategy. Industrial waste management is not easy, therefore, it’s necessary to have a team instead of one person who conducts the management process. Your ‘green team’ will be responsible for deciding on waste measures, implementing the strategies, and monitoring the performance of departments. If your team shows great results, you can even ask them to help optimize work processes to minimize waste.

Waste measuring

In order to start coming up with measures for effective waste disposal, it’s crucial to know what amount of waste you’re working with. By measuring your waste, you can share data with people in the department and aim their attention in the right direction. This will also provide you with insight into which departments and actions produce the most waste and focus on them. With proper waste measuring, you can monitor your progress and ensure your practices are working.

Segregation

Many waste kinds from the industrial processes are recyclable, especially materials like glass, plastic, paper, cardboard, and concrete. If your company produces any such waste, it’s necessary to segregate it from other waste by identifying these materials, separating them from the other waste, and collecting them properly. With recycling bins and dumpsters set across the factory premises, this step can be performed relatively easily. It’s also crucial to enforce proper disposal by creating a green team that will control the disposal practices and reward good behaviors.

plastic waste in recycling bins
Used plastic bottles in recycling bins for earth day campaign

Easy disposal

Setting up containers, bins, recycling stations, and waste disposal chutes are the best solutions for easy and safe waste disposal. Still not super popular all over the world but big in Australia, waste chutes are a quick, safe and convenient way to move all your waste to the ground floor where it can be segregated or packed. Companies that invested in their own waste chute in Melbourne report great results in many different ways. In high buildings and construction projects, this addition can bring many benefits to waste management that focus mainly on practicality and speed of the disposal which can be crucial in many industries.

Landfills

Unfortunately, there is waste that cannot yet be recycled or reused. As long as this waste is non-hazardous, it will end up in landfills that are properly managed and maintained away from fragile ecosystems and human activity. After sorting the waste, it is transported to landfills, compacted, and buried to decompose or degrade. If you choose the right landfill company, the gasses that are released during decomposition can be used to generate electricity and fuel, so there’s still some benefit to the process.

Composting

Some industrial waste can be used for filling composting piles and making compost that is used for fertilizing. If a company produces food waste, plenty of newspaper or cardboard paper, leaves, straw, and sawdust, these materials can be processed into fertilizer and manures that actually help the quality of the soil. Setting up composting stations is not hard and only requires very little investment into composting bins and a few tools. This is a win-win situation that gets rid of the waste while helping the environment.

compost life cycle

Waste exchange

This strategy might sound a bit unconventional, but it can help reduce waste on a global scale. In some fields, the waste produced by your company can be a valuable resource for some other company’s production processes. So if you want to reduce your industrial waste, see if you can create a waste exchange program with companies that might put it to good use. Your company will dispose of the waste and at the same time, give this waste a second chance to be useful. The process of exchanging waste reduces the waste in the landfills and minimizes the carbon footprint in many industries.

Green chemicals

To reduce the toxicity of your industrial processes, you can focus on using greener chemicals. Certain chemicals and processes can produce less hazardous waste than others, which also reduces energy consumption and the possibility of leaks of toxic materials. Wastewater and sludge are hard to keep to a minimum, but you can consider partnering with other companies that can take your products (especially sludge which can be full of organic things) and reuse them as stated in the previous section.

Buy in bulk

Ordering raw materials in bulk is a great way you save money and reduce waste. Due to the larger volume, you can achieve better pricing of goods, but also fewer packing materials that need to be recycled or disposed of. Buying in bulk also reduces your company’s carbon footprint because it requires fewer deliveries of goods which directly affects the CO2 release. If you keep a clear inventory and label things properly, buying in bulk can be great for your company.

Rethink packaging

Any industry that produces raw materials and finished products also produces a lot of packaging material waste. While packaging can’t really be eliminated completely, it’s possible to reduce the impact it has on the environment. One way to reduce the impact of your company on the environment is to start using eco-friendly materials for packaging such as cardboard instead of plastics. While reducing waste, these bio-degradable packaging ideas will also make your company stand out and become a green influencer in the industry. It’s also smart to provide your business to companies and vendors that use green packaging when buying your materials.

Recruit professionals

If your company is producing a lot of waste, you can hire an industrial waste management firm that specializes in factory waste. With professionals on your side, you don’t have to worry about monitoring and managing waste—they will do it for you. However, it’s important to do plenty of research because certain waste management companies only focus on reducing waste in order to lower costs and don’t really care about the environment at all. Skipping these irresponsible waste management companies can be a great step forward for your business’ green image.

The best way to improve the condition of our environment is to focus on minimizing industrial waste and practicing proper waste disposal strategies. Manufacturing units of any industry have to be held responsible for the waste they create and do whatever it takes to reduce their waste and protect our aching environment. Luckily, with these strategies above, it’s possible to avert the current waste crisis and ensure a greener future for all.


About the author: Lilly Miller is a freelance writer, who focuses on interior design, well-being and sustainable living. She loves to experiment on daring new home decor trends and write about it as a regular contributor to Smooth Decorator. Settled in Sydney for the time being, Lilly shares home with two loving dogs and a gecko named Rodney. You can find her hanging out on Twitter.

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