7 Tips for Sustainable and Green Manufacturing

Nowadays, going green is more about just saving the environment. Plenty of businesses are realizing that sustainability is more than just hugging a polar bear, it’s about reducing costs while making your business more efficient. 

Manufacturing is an industry that can create lots of waste rather quickly. All that waste can grow exponentially if managers and business owners aren’t careful. 

Below, we’re going to be going over six tips for manufacturers and how they can become more sustainable, more efficient, and healthier overall. 

Updating Equipment

For the longest time, manual cars were more efficient than automatic cars. It wasn’t until about 10-15 years ago that automatic cars caught up and blew past their manual brothers. With the amount of technology and new material, these cars are able to conserve much more fuel and pollute less.

While we’re not here to shame you about your car choice, you should be looking at updating your equipment and keeping it as cutting-edge (learn more: https://www.ceratizit.com/) as possible. Newer equipment is going to be more efficient, break down less, and consume less energy overall.

Make sure you’re doing your research and finding the best equipment possible for your business. 

Re-Evaluate Fossil Fuel Consumption

Part of the whole sustainable and green movement is shifting away from fossil fuels. You’re no stranger to the amount of electricity, gas, coal, etc. that your work areas need in order to function at the highest capacity. 

Taking a look at your fossil fuel consumption, you might be able to find areas where renewable energies could be used or places with low efficiency. You might not be able to leave fossil fuels in the dust fully, but you may be able to lessen your overall consumption. 

Adopt Lean Production

A buzzword in the manufacturing industry roughly 20 years ago, lean production is all about reducing multiple areas of waste. The overall idea is to reduce production costs and increase profits.

The idea is to only use the required amount of raw material, nothing more and nothing less. Manufactures must maximize the use out of their raw material to make everything run as smoothly as possible. In a way, it’s just like it sounds.

Lean also extends to transportation and shipping to make the most streamlined business. It involves cooperation on all levels to be properly done. 

Use More Renewable Energy

When it comes to energy, your manufacturing plant is going to be using a lot of it. There are plenty of machines that need to be powered plus all of the day-to-day items. 

One of the easiest ways to make your business more sustainable is turning to renewable energies. Similar to the car debate earlier, installing these kinds of renewable energy systems used to come at a very high cost.

Now? Wind and solar are making such huge strides that they’re actually outgrowing subsidies.While wind and solar aren’t always available in all areas, you should at least look into it and see if you can’t lower your energy bill. It also does wonders for the public image and helps when marketing your business. It’s becoming more and more of a positive thing to say that your company is environmentally friendly.

There are plenty of companies around the world who are switching to industrial-sized renewable energy options. Have a look at their projects and see if this is something feasible for you. 

Reduce Waste

One that is certainly easier said than done, but reducing waste is the ultimate way to combine the benefits of going green while making your business more efficient and cost-friendly. 

Waste can either be with materials or man-power. When it comes to materials, look at how many raw materials you are buying and how you use them. Try to recycle your unused materials instead of tossing them in the garbage. 

Monitor your worker’s progress too and see if some steps can be automated or even eliminated. You want to be able to get the most out of your workers as possible. 

A manufacturer, you’re also responsible for disposing of any chemicals or hazardous materials in a safe manner. You should already be aware and knowledgeable of government regulations and rules, but it helps to go one step further. 

Part or reducing waste is repurposing it, so see evaluate if you can use that waste again or even sell it off to other manufacturers or plants. If you have any biodegradable waste, put that to a landfill to make the most out of it.

Undergo an Energy Audit

While you might think you’re doing everything you can from the inside to make your business as sustainable as possible, it always helps to have a pair of outside eyes come in and examine your workplace. 

These audits will help identify areas of waste, places where efficiency is often lost, or areas that can be changed. Speak with a firm in your area to see if you can have someone come out and take a look to give you a proper evaluation. 

They can also help you examine some pollution-prevention strategies, advising what to buy, what not to buy, and teach everyone about the effects of certain byproducts. They can link you with companies that promote green ideas and strive for efficiency. 

Make 21st Century Office Decisions

While this may not apply to the manufacturing floor, you can still make some sustainable choices from your office. Turn to digital tools, like the cloud to cut back on internal server space. Outsource certain departments, like IT and marketing instead of having someone on constant payroll.

Consider going paperless if you can to help clear up some of the clutter around your office. Set up smart home devices, like thermostats or lightbulbs to better manage heating and air in your building. These are small changes that you might not be able to see their impact for a long time, but they are definitely going to help the bottom line of your business and make your more sustainable in the long-run. 

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.