If it's your factory, it's your waste and it's your money!
One way of assessing your current environmental performance is to conduct a waste assessment. A waste assessment will help you to better understand where your efforts will gain most value.
What is the purpose of a waste assessment?
The main aims of a waste assessment are to:
- Identify each waste stream on or leaving the site.
- Quantify and characterise each waste stream to establish benchmark data.
- Establish how and why each waste stream is generated.
- Calculate costs incurred with treatment, storage, handling and disposal of wastes, including quantifying associated labour, energy, water and lost raw material costs where possible.
- Determine liabilities associated with waste generation.
- Identify options for more efficient and effective waste management (for example identify reduction/diversion opportunities).
The following are the key tasks involved in a waste assessment:
- Select waste assessment team – this should include at least one company employee.
- Determine audit scope – this depends on size of assessment required and parameters set.
- Collect available data.
- Identify and characterise waste streams.
- Evaluate data.
- Identify and prioritise options.
- Prepare a report and plan of action.
There are three main stages involved in a waste assessment. These are:
- Preliminary assessment – aims to identify major environmental issues, major opportunities for improvement and major economic issues.
- Detailed study and improvement plan – aims to find the best options for minimisation in the site.
- Monitoring and review – aims to monitor and confirm the indicators and targets previously established.
Waste involves the manufacture and discharge or disposal of things that cannot be sold at a profit. The cost of waste management and disposal is almost always much less than the value entrained in the waste. By finding the lost dollars, you will identify the waste reduction and profit increasing opportunities.