Waste management - reduce, reuse and recycle

When analysing the prevention of waste it is essential to determine the effectiveness of the production process. This provides a clear understanding of the sources of waste generation and unnecessary disposal. An analysis of possible options for recycling and reuse before going to the landfill is important when the goal is to minimise the creation of waste.

Since waste is a consequence of unutilised resources, it is important to identify which part of the production process generates waste, why waste is generated and what volumes of waste is generated at each stage.

For this identification, generally a waste audit is conducted, which looks at:

  • The volume of waste generated;
  • The handling and storage of waste;
  • Who is responsible for / What is the origin of the waste produced?
Waste management
Waste management

Implementing an environmental management strategy with the support of environmental performance indicators can help identify points of process optimisation and comparison, such as waste produced per department or production unit. If an environmental management system is implemented, it should also include a manual of suppliers that clearly indicates best practices on:

  • Recovery and reuse policies;
  • Reduction of packaging material and more sustainable alternatives;
  • Incorporating design changes, such as "ecodesign" and more efficient transportation.
Some examples of waste produced in the cellar

Suggested operational practices for the reduction of waste generated in the production line:

  • Develop operational procedures to reduce waste generation;
  • Triage waste for recycling or recovery of useful products (consider all of the possibilities for reuse and recycling before sending to landfill);
  • Train staff in best practices of waste management;
  • Bulk purchase materials to reduce the need for processing packaging materials;
  • Reuse materials / waste (plastic wrap, plastic wrap rolls, cartons, glass, pallets);
  • Establish objectives and waste reduction targets by department;
  • Implement a purchasing policy or sustainable practices;
  • Monitor waste minimisation results annually.