Waste Minimisation in Glass Processing - Part 5
The Tools of the Trade




The fifth in a series of waste minimisation worksheets by Dr. Robin Kent for Envirowise to help the glass industry reduce costs through waste minimisation.

UK Government Environment and Energy Helpline 0800 585 794


The key waste minimisation tools are ‘waste tracking’ and the ‘cause and effect diagram’. These both help to find ‘fast starts’ and to develop the systematic approach for long-term savings.

Waste tracking

To manage waste effectively and pinpoint savings opportunities, the different wastes produced by a company (and the step at which they are produced) needs to be identified. The tools used for this are the ‘process flow chart’ and the ‘waste tracking sheet’.

Process flow chart

Consider the production process as a series of steps. Each step has its own inputs, outputs and waste. Each step adds value to the product but also adds a cost from the labour, materials and utilities used in the process step.

A general ‘process flow chart’ for glass processing is shown below.

Waste tracking sheet

From the process flow chart it is possible to create a waste tracking sheet for each individual step. The waste tracking sheet measures and lists the amounts and costs of the waste for the step considered and provides a detailed ‘opportunity list’ for each step. The waste tracking sheet also provides an accurate picture of the ‘cost of waste’ for the step. Combining the details for the individual steps gives the overall cost of waste to the company. The results can also be used to see if there are any discrepancies in overall values, i.e. between identified and total actual water use, and raw material and energy consumption. Dig deeper if there are major discrepancies. They can be a major cost and a major savings opportunity!

The ‘cause and effect’ diagram

‘Cause and effect’ diagrams (also known as ‘Fishbone’ diagrams) are a standard tool for quality improvement and will be familiar to many people. They are used to identify potential opportunities for eliminating waste in each process step and are used to identify possible causes of a problem in a structured manner. For each effect there are likely to be several possible causes. In manufacturing, the major groups of causes are:

It is important to look for improvements to solve the root cause (or causes) of the problem and not simply to restate the symptoms.


People are at the heart of waste minimisation. Talk to the staff involved in the process producing the waste to understand why it is produced. Is it because no-one had seriously considered there was a problem or because it is an established practice may no longer be relevant? Using ‘waste reduction teams’ and ‘waste champions’ will produce major cost savings.

The future

This short series has only touched the surface of waste minimisation. The implementation of these powerful techniques can save real money as well as making the company more environmentally friendly. For further free details, information and assistance contact the Helpline (0800 585 794).

"Waste Minimisation in Glass Processing" Series.

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
Part 3: Assessing Performance

Part 4: Improving Performance
Part 5: Waste Minimisation Tools (This Section)


Download the complete series as an Adobe Acrobat file.


Last edited: 11/03/10

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