Sustainable manufacturing is all about minimising the overall impact of a plant’s operations on the environment. Many companies are already adopting sustainable practices for a variety of reasons, and those who aren’t risk being left behind the competition.
The good news is that there are many benefits to embracing sustainable manufacturing, and here we’ll explain those benefits and detail some steps to help you achieve it.
Benefits of Sustainable Manufacturing
There are numerous benefits to embracing sustainable manufacturing. By minimising the environmental impact of your manufacturing operations, you can:
- Reduce energy costs
- Boost productivity
- Improve staff morale
- Create a unique selling point
- Receive government funding
The manufacturing industry is rather energy intensive, so there are significant savings to be made by improving energy efficiency and reducing waste. An energy audit can highlight areas where improvements can be made, plus there easy steps that can be taken such as training staff in energy-saving best practices and swapping out old light bulbs for more energy-efficient ones.
You can also boost productivity at your plant by optimising system utilisation, nurturing resilience and enhancing the flexibility of your operations. This process of becoming more sustainable can also improve staff morale by giving them more pride in their work, which in turn helps your business retain the best workers.
Being a sustainable manufacturer is also a great selling point when doing business with other businesses, as well as attracting new talent to come and work for you. Remember that most of today’s workforce consists of Millenials, who are the generation most committed to environmental issues. Being a sustainable manufacturer will give your company a significant edge when it comes to new workers as well as new customers.
There is also government funding to help UK businesses become greener, with a £5 billion fund having been made available to help the country reach the net zero emissions target by 2050.
How to Be More Sustainable in Manufacturing
- Evaluate packaging materials
Packaging materials are a significant contributor to waste and should be one of the first steps towards becoming more sustainable. Traditional plastic packaging can be changed for more environmentally-friendly alternatives such as reusable fabric, recycled paper and compostable materials.
- Embrace renewable energy
Investing in renewable energy should be a priority wherever possible, though it is not always feasible. The likes of solar, wind, and hydropower can greatly reduce energy bills as well as your environmental impact, and there may be government incentives to help you make the switch.
- Switch to green cleaning products
The manufacturing sector has traditionally used powerful industrial cleaning products that get the job done without much fuss, but can also be damaging to the environment as well as to employees’ health. Such products often contain harsh chemicals, but there are now much more eco-friendly cleaning product companies offering sustainable alternatives that are non-toxic and biodegradable, while being just as effective.
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