Waste Minimisation in Glass Processing - Part 2
UK Government Environment and Energy Helpline 0800 585 794
The glass industry can save substantial amounts of money by simply not wasting it!
Waste is all around us. Some companies put up signs urging staff to ‘STOP WASTE’, most people would stop waste if only they knew where to find it. The signs should really read ‘FIND WASTE’ - only after finding the hidden waste can you really start to stop it. The first step in waste minimisation is to start to find the inevitable waste in the business and the best tool for this is the ‘waste walk-around’. A ‘walk-around’ is designed to gain an overview of the processes and to identify some rapid no-cost or low-cost improvements to save money.
The survey should be carried out as soon as possible - waste is happening now and it is costing money now. Take an unannounced walk around the site at mid-shift. If there is no night shift, it can also be profitable to take a walk around the factory when there is no production being carried out. Always look in the skips as a first step - it is an excellent starter for locating waste!
Eliminate, reduce, re-use, recycle
The waste ‘hierarchy’ is vital to save the most money: first eliminate the source of waste, then reduce the amount of waste, then re-use any waste that does arise, then recycle the waste and only when these have been eliminated should we dispose of the waste.
The waste hierarchy
- Identify the various waste streams produced on-site. The process flow chart at right gives an outline of the typical inputs and outputs during glass processing.
A process flow chart showing some of the typical inputs and outputs during glass processing
- Optimise waste segregation and recycling to minimise the amount of waste requiring disposal. Skip disposal costs real money.
- Estimate the true cost of waste. The cost of waste glass is not just the disposal cost, it is the cost of the glass and the embodied processing costs to the stage at which it was wasted.
- Avoid breakages by improving storage and handling techniques (especially after value has been added by processing).
Record glass utilisation wherever possible. Track, locate and reduce any variations.
- Plan production to minimise changeover losses.
- Establish the total material losses for the process. Compare these losses with utilisation rates to find the relative importance of process and materials handling losses.
- Re-use any packaging for your products, where appropriate.
- Find ways of minimising packaging with both suppliers and customers. Packaging is paid for twice - once to buy it and again to dispose of it.
- Make everyone aware of water costs - especially the difference between purchase and effluent disposal costs. Check the bills to make sure that you are paying only for what you are disposing of; consider metering discharges if there are large evaporative losses.
- Turn off the water supply to processes that are not operating.
- Check for leaks in the water system and repair dripping taps as soon as possible.
- Check that hot water controls are set to stop heating one hour before the end of daily work.
- Fit flush controls to urinal systems in all men’s toilets.
- Fit trigger controls to hosepipes.
- Implement no-cost and low-cost methods to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs.
- Compressed air is a major energy user. Typically, 40% of generated compressed air is wasted in feeding leaks. A 3 mm hole leaks about 11 litres/sec and costs £1,000 per year.
- Get a free copy of ‘Focus’ from the Helpline to provide ideas for reducing energy costs.
- Train employees to understand the effects of their actions.
The action plan
- Once you are looking for waste, a walk-around will identify obvious areas for improvement. Make some ‘fast starts’ to reduce waste.
- Start to monitor utility and packaging usage.
- Find out where and why waste glass is being created.
- Record the starting position and publicise improvements to motivate employees and maintain commitment from senior management.
- Contact the Helpline (0800 585 794) for free resources to identify more opportunities for waste minimisation and profit improvement. If your company has fewer than 250 employees, ask the Helpline for a free Fast Track visit to help you get started.
The "Waste Minimisation in Glass Processing" series is designed to give glass processors an insight into how to minimise wasting valuable resources. The series is being published in Glass Age on a monthly basis and published here after the Glass Age publication. The series is:
Part 1: The Business Reasons
Part 2: A Waste Walk Around and Action Plan (This Section)
Part 3: Assessing Performance
Part 4: Improving Performance
Part 5: Waste Minimisation Tools
Download the complete series as an Adobe Acrobat file.
Last edited: 11/03/10
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