More and more customers want to purchase products from organizations that engage in sustainable manufacturing practices. People have been consuming resources at a rate that does not allow enough time for the earth to regenerate those resources, and our impact on the environment around us is becoming more important to consumers.
Three out of every four millennials are willing to pay a little extra for resources from brands that are committed to a positive environmental impact, and 76% of millennials are concerned about the environment. There are good reasons for this. For example, if the global population reaches 9.6 billion by 2050, the resources needed to sustain current lifestyles would be the equivalent of the resources on three different planets.
This is why it’s important to consider how manufacturing can be made more sustainable. It is estimated by the federal US government that manufacturing operations use about one-third of the total amount of energy consumed annually in the country. People are starting to wonder about the environmental impacts when manufacturing products.
So how can manufacturers engage in more sustainable practices in 2021 and beyond? Here are a few tips.
1. Reevaluate and optimize the utilization of fossil fuels.
The Environmental Protection Agency reported that in 2018, 22% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were industrial. Decreasing energy and not only reduces the carbon footprint, but it can also cut energy costs, making it a win-win. Manufacturers can make a big difference with simple acts like turning machinery off when its not in use and replacing single-speed motors with servo drive or variable-speed to decrease consumption of energy. It may also be worth it to consider alternative energy sources like solar, hydroelectric, or wind.
2. Decrease pollution.
Manufacturers can do a lot to reduce the use of environmentally unfriendly materials that are used in the manufacturing process. For example, dry or near-dry machinery that uses as little coolant as possible can be an efficient way to remove metal. There are also a lot of ways to use technology to destroy pollution before it enters into the atmosphere of the earth.
3. Engage in time-saving practices.
Saving time is an excellent way to achieve more energy efficiency. If you run a production cycle faster, you can have more time to shut down and save power. You can also decrease the number of machines that are needed to manufacture.
An effective recycling solution for manufacturers can help organizations to really minimize waste and have a positive environmental impact. This is one of the most important green manufacturing processes. Manufacturers can also determine the best manner by which the workflow can be changed in order to separate materials that can be recycled.
5. Reduce the amount of waste you produce.
Manufacturers should have a goal to consume only the supplies and resources that are needed to produce the finished product. Manufacturers may also be able to find more opportunities for waste reduction by re-evaluating their systems and processes in general.
When it comes to sustainable manufacturing practices, the goal should be to approach every process trying to find a way to use the least amount of energy and resources possible. It’s important to keep in mind that sustainability is not just about the “big ticket” items that make a big impact right away, but it’s also about a lot of smaller changes that add up and create a positive impact in the long term.
At POWERS, one of the ways we help organizations to be more efficient is by helping reduce the resources, time, and energy that it takes to produce a finished product. Not only is this helpful in terms of sustainability, but it can greatly cut costs as well, making it a win-win scenario.