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Waste generation self-assessment review for food and drink manufacturers

Resources:
Waste
Sector:
Food processing
Cost:
Low cost
Read more
Resource savings: Waste:
Many companies underestimate how much waste is costing - it could be as high as 4 % of turnover - so carry out waste-management reviews to identify gaps and problem areas
Premises and operation areas:
Production processes
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Intermediate
What is in it for you:
Identifying how your process, product and packaging affect waste generation.
Descriptive information:

Self-assessment can help you review the company's waste-management practices. Through no- or low-cost measures, you can identify where waste is arising at each stage of a process and take steps to reduce it. This will boost your environmental performance, reduce your carbon footprint and help to build brand value.

Key actions include:

  • Map out the processes - Start by trying to map out the information you gathered during walk-around tours aimed at observing your processes and practices, and use the data to create a mass balance process flow chart that identifies all the inputs and outputs, both solid and liquid, where they occur, and how to measure them. From the process flow chart, you should be able to create a waste-tracking sheet for each individual step. These sheets list, quantify and assign a cost to each waste stream, and also provide an accurate picture of the total cost of waste for the step.
  • Set the benchmarks - Once you have compiled your waste list, you can use the data to gauge performance relative to other businesses and set realistic targets for improvement. You can also set key performance indicators (KPIs) matching your company situation, e.g. water consumption in m3/tonne of product, total raw material used per tonne of product, etc.
  • Make an action plan - Prioritise actions according to how much money they can save the company. Start by identifying obvious areas for waste reduction, where you can achieve immediate and substantial savings by implementing no- and low-cost measures. Calculate the true cost of all your waste streams; you could represent the cost of waste as a percentage of turnover or per employee. Record the starting position and publicise improvements. Ensure your action plan covers all relevant issues. Use waste hierarchy, waste-tracking sheets, and process flow diagrams to assist in identifying savings.
Sources

Envirowise (2009), Self-assessment Review for Food and Drink Manufacturers, http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/EN864_final.pdf.pdf

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