Sustainability is a critical aspect of our present and future well-being, as it encompasses a vast array of interconnected issues that shape our environment, economy, and society. However, the multitude of possibilities within the realm of sustainability can be overwhelming, making it essential to narrow our focus.
In chemical manufacturing, lean thinking and continuous improvement practices can be applied to achieve daily environmental sustainability goals. Whilst waste identification comes naturally to many lean thinkers, a closer look at environmental waste requires action.
According to the Lean Institute, by walking the Gemba and viewing the work from an environmental perspective, we can capture the workflow and measure “green waste” at every process step. Looking at every step, checking data and enabling and empowering every worker to look for insights and act can help to build a greener operation.
In this article, we delve into the seven categories of environmental waste. Inspired by Gary Cundill and Rose Heathcote, who have adapted these classifications from Ohno’s seven wastes, we also provide suggestions on how businesses enhance each aspect. The seven types of waste we discuss are energy, water, materials, garbage, transport, emissions, and biodiversity.
Energy waste refers to the inefficient use or unnecessary consumption of energy resources and is one of the most significant challenges nowadays. It considers electricity and other types of energy, such as thermal and mechanical energy. By optimising energy consumption, we can reduce energy waste and minimise our carbon emissions. To address and improve the several types of green waste within an organisation, several strategies and initiatives can be explored. Here are some examples:
Water waste occurs when water is used inefficiently or irresponsibly. To address this issue, several actions can be taken, such as:
Material waste refers to the excessive use of resources. It includes unnecessary raw material or product consumption, single-use items, and packaging. Different opportunities can be explored in the organisation, including:
Adopting practices such as recycling, reusing, and opting for sustainable materials can help minimise material waste and promote a circular economy.
Garbage waste encompasses the improper disposal and management of waste materials. It includes sending recyclable items to landfills, littering, and accumulating non-biodegradable waste. Solutions to be explored include:
Transport waste relates to unnecessary or inefficient transportation practices that contribute to fuel use and related emissions. Opportunities organisations can evaluate include:
Emissions waste refers to releasing harmful gases and pollutants into the atmosphere. It includes emissions from industrial processes, vehicles, and energy production. Some points to look for improvement:
Biodiversity waste occurs when ecosystems and habitats are degraded or destroyed. It includes deforestation, habitat fragmentation, and the loss of species diversity. To prevent this, manufacturers can:
Protecting natural areas, promoting reforestation, and supporting conservation initiatives can help mitigate biodiversity waste and preserve our natural heritage.
The 8th unspoken waste, but one of the most important is the mind. While the other wastes focus on tangible aspects such as energy, water, materials, garbage, transport, emissions, and biodiversity, the waste of mind highlights the importance of mindset and awareness in addressing these issues.
As stated in the paragraph above, mind waste refers to the disregard or indifference towards environmental issues. It includes apathy, lack of awareness, and unsustainable consumer behaviours.
Educating ourselves, raising awareness, and fostering a mindset of environmental stewardship can help reduce mind waste and inspire positive change. Most people are willing to help and use their knowledge to build a more sustainable future.
In line with this, a recent survey conducted by Unily revealed that 63% of employees express a strong desire to acquire more green skills, recognising the value of becoming more environmentally knowledgeable and contributing to a sustainable workplace.
63% of employees would like to learn more green skills to become more valuable in the workplace.
Digitalisation plays a pivotal role in minimising waste by providing the necessary data and tools to effectively measure energy and water consumption, materials yield, and emissions generation.
This invaluable information enables businesses to identify areas of waste and transform them into opportunities, simultaneously creating a positive impact on both the environment and their bottom line.
The integration of digital technologies not only facilitates waste reduction but also fosters a culture of sustainability and empowers employees to make meaningful contributions towards a greener future.
Here at Cyzag, we believe people are the key to sustainable manufacturing. Workers are pivotal in the effort to minimise waste by offering innovative solutions that streamline processes, optimise resource utilisation, and promote sustainable practices.
Whilst having real-time data is valuable, it must be actionable. Software platforms like Cyzag empower workers with its user-centric approach to reduce waste, improve efficiency, and contribute to a more environmentally friendly future through the digitalisation of data.
Addressing the eight types of green waste requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses various aspects.
By recognising the environmental impact of energy, water, materials, garbage, transport, emissions, biodiversity, and mind waste, we can make informed choices and take meaningful actions towards a greener and more sustainable future.
Let us strive to minimise waste in all its forms and work together to protect and preserve our planet for generations to come!
Interested in discovering how Cyzag can benefit your business? Schedule a personalised demo to delve into your organisation’s pain points and workflows. Let’s discuss how Cyzag can work wonders for you!