Waste Minimisation in Plastics Processing - Part 4
Improving Performance




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

UK Government Environment and Energy Helpline 0800 585 794

Improving performance

The success of waste minimisation depends on the active support of the Managing Director and other senior managers. Senior management can:

Choosing a co-ordinator

A waste minimisation co-ordinator is needed because reducing waste in one area of the business may require action in other areas. The co-ordinator needs three essential qualities:

The waste minimisation co-ordinator is not necessarily a ‘full time job and could be the Managing Director, Production or Quality Manager.

The main responsibilities are:

This may sound a lot of work, but the role is to co-ordinate and facilitate. It will be the waste minimisation team, or teams, who will actually achieve the results.

Making ‘fast starts’

In order to make ‘fast starts’ on obvious waste reduction opportunities, the first task is to identify the priority areas for action, . Implementing some quick and cheap cost-saving measures will provide evidence of the real benefits to the company of following a systematic approach.

1. Gather available information

To identify the ‘fast starts’, you need to obtain information about your site and its activities. Concentrate on collecting information that is easily available.

Key actions

Tip - Take photographs of waste and where it is being produced. These will show much waste there is, and help for comparison with future improvements.

Useful further actions

Tip - Good communication is essential to success. Involve people in reducing waste and tell them about the successes.

To make sure all the wastes have been identified use a process flowsheet (see next month for details of the tools) and to go through the process with a key staff. These actions should help to highlight areas for improvement.

2. Identifying priorities

Generate some ideas for reducing major wastes to achieve immediate savings. Decide on the priorities to ensure some early successes.

In one day you should be able to identify potential actions to make ‘fast start’ savings and put them in order of priority.

3. Making the first savings

To make your first savings:

Tip - Simple ideas are often most effective. Look at ET30 ‘Finding Hidden Profit - 200 Practical Tips for Reducing Waste’, available free from the Helpline.

4. Measuring savings

To demonstrate savings, it is necessary to measure:

As part of the action plan, make sure that simple measuring systems are in place. These should be both cost-effective and appropriate. Decide on the measurement level necessary to check progress, and include regular checks in the plan. Use simple information gathering methods such as:

Record these measurements for reference.

5. Achieving more savings

Progress reviews will provide evidence that waste reduction is worth the commitment and effort.

Tip - Take some more photographs to record any visible changes.

Use this evidence to convince management and employees that a waste reduction programme is profitable and extend the operations. Contact the Helpline for further information on areas for cost reduction.

"Waste Minimisation" Series.

The "Waste Minimisation" series is designed to give plastics processors an insight into how to minimise wasting  valuable resources. The series is being published in British Plastics and Rubber on a monthly basis and published here after the BP&R 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


Download the complete series as an Adobe Acrobat file.


Last edited: 29/11/11

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