Industrial waste is one of the most difficult types of waste to deal with because it comes from a number of different sources and has a high volume. In this article we will give you some general rules on how to reduce industrial waste as well as specific details for certain industries that must follow stricter guidelines for reducing their output of hazardous materials.
1) Reduce Scope – You can start by evaluating where your company currently stands in terms of its environmental performance and identify wasteful practices, then eliminate them. One basic way to do this is by using less material, both at the time of production and final product usage (i.e., buy only what you need instead of bulk quantities). Another way to reduce scope is to find creative ways of combining several different products into one (so instead of buying 10 separate items, you might buy two or three that can do the same task).
2) Reuse – This means finding another use for something after its original purpose has been exhausted. For example, organic waste from manufacturing can be composted and used as landscaping fertilizer. This keeps useful material out of the landfill, which helps the environment by reducing the amount of garbage that must be processed at a treatment facility.
3) Recycle – Industrial recycling involves taking scrap metal left over from fabrication processes and melting it down to make new metal products. However, reusing raw materials rather than making them from scratch reduces pollution because fewer resources are consumed and energy is saved.
4) Select the Right Equipment – Make sure any equipment you buy will help to reduce industrial waste. For instance, a long-armed pallet fork makes it easier to load trucks and receive deliveries at a lower cost than using a crane or other machinery that runs on fossil fuels and causes pollution. In addition, choose materials that aren’t hazardous when they’re no longer required for production purposes (i.e., if large drums of solvent are used in a manufacturing process but have been drained, there’s no need to recycle them because they won’t be reused).
5) Minimize Transportation – This is one of the most important ways to reduce your environmental impact at work. Over half of all transportation contributes directly to air pollution, so even short journeys can make a big difference.
6) Practice Safe Storage – This is not only good for the environment; it’s good for business because it will reduce workplace accidents and workers’ compensation claims. The best way to manage hazardous waste is to segregate incompatible materials (i.e., keep combustible or corrosive substances separate). Special care should be taken to keep incompatible materials physically segregated during storage, handling and transportation. Also, use secondary containment on-site where possible
7) Minimize Water Usage – It takes anywhere from 2 gallons of water to 5 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol, so don’t treat industrial wastewater unless you have an unlimited supply available. If your facility does generate liquid effluent, recycling can be used to reduce the amount of water consumed. Facilities with reverse osmosis equipment are able to treat their own wastewater, which means they don’t need to transport it off-site for treatment.
8) Minimize Air Pollution – Typically, air emissions are minimized by good ventilation and environmental design (i.e., make sure hazardous gasses escape safely rather than build up in confined spaces). However, you might also consider using natural gas instead of diesel fuel because it produces fewer pollutants when burned completely. Switching fuels isn’t always economically feasible, but if your facility does burn fossil fuels then minimizing the number of times that your boiler or furnace needs to fire up is a great way to reduce pollution both inside and outside your building.
9) Reduce Fuel Consumption – There are a number of ways to reduce the amount of energy consumed by your facility. First, you can use solar heat collectors or wind turbines with built-in generators to power some of your equipment. Second, turn off lights and use natural lighting whenever possible. Third, avoid using fossil fuels to generate electricity if possible through the use of cogeneration or biomass conversion systems. These systems not only produce more sustainable forms of power but they can also cut costs by powering production processes directly rather than using electricity from the grid.
10) Minimize Transportation – This is one of the most important ways to reduce your environmental impact at work. Over half of all transportation contributes directly to air pollution, so even short journeys can make a big difference.