5 Sustainability Practices You’ll Wish You Knew About 5 Years Ago

You’ll hear the word ‘sustainability’ used regularly in manufacturing circles. 

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s thought that around 76% of millennials are concerned about the state of the environment, and manufacturing has a huge part to play in creating a greener, more sustainable world. 

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Manufacturing is one of the oldest industries in the world and, as such, relies on tools, techniques, and processes that are inherently non-environmentally friendly. 

The good news is that there are a number of sustainability practices available to all manufacturers, and they’re not as tricky to build into your strategy as you might think.


Recycling (it’s more important than ever)

Recycling is certainly not a new thing, but its role in manufacturing grows more important by the day. 

Despite this, five years ago you may have been entirely focused on revolutionising your processes or maximising the profitability of your supply chain to even think about recycling. 

However, it’s not as hard as some might suggest. The key lies in identifying the constituent materials that can be easily recycled. Put some time and effort into that initially, and it’ll become an intrinsic part of your manufacturing process for the long-term.


Re-evaluating your use of fossil fuels

Just like recycling, the focus on fossil fuels in manufacturing isn’t a new thing. In 2018, 22% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US were entirely industrial, and it’s a similar story in the UK. 

Despite this, the simple process of decreasing energy usage and cutting energy costs goes a long way to reducing your business’s carbon footprint (and its utility bills!). 

Simple acts like turning off machinery when not in use and using variable-speed or servo drive motors rather than their single-speed counterparts will help bring those huge percentages down. 


A focus on waste

It’s certainly not the most glamorous part of manufacturing, but waste is easily one of the biggest culprits when it comes to spoiling sustainability efforts. 

Can you honestly say that you’re actively working to reduce the amount of waste your plant produces? Every manufacturer should have a goal to only consume the supplies needed to create a finished product. 

You can do this by evaluating your waste and identifying the stuff that is needlessly being thrown away, or which can be removed entirely from the manufacturing process. (You might be surprised by how much you’re needlessly committing to waste.)


Decreasing pollution

Pollution has always been a tricky subject in manufacturing. We’ll never rid the industry of it entirely (not for many, many years, anyway), but there’s plenty of things that manufacturers can do to significantly decrease the amounts of pollution they’re inadvertently creating. 

For instance, dry machinery (although near-dry will work, too), will use less coolant and be an efficient way to remove metal. But you can also use lots of the new forms of technology to wipe out any pollution created before it enters the atmosphere. 

Speak to your suppliers to see how they can help you reduce pollution - they may have solutions that you’re completely unaware of. 


Find time for time-saving practices

You’ll hear the word ‘sustainability’ used regularly in manufacturing circles. 

Did you know that saving time is actually one of the best ways to run a more energy efficient manufacturing business? 

Think about it - if you can run your production line faster, you’ll be able to shut down machines more readily and consume less energy overall. As an added bonus, you’ll probably also be able to remove some machines from the process entirely. 

To find those time-saving practices, just take a root-and-branches review of your entire manufacturing process; the clues will be there. 

Interested to see how Flowdrill could help you become more sustainable? Do get in touch with our helpful, friendly team for a no-pressure chat. 

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