June 5, 2023, marks the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day. Each year, this passion project of the United Nations brings together more than 150 countries working toward one theme. The theme has been different every year, with this year’s theme being “Solutions to Plastic Pollution.” Consumers have many options when it comes to protecting the environment and reducing waste (recycling being the foremost). But what can manufacturers do? One of the biggest trends in manufacturing right now is going “green.”
There are many ways to go green as a manufacturer including:
Implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) — With an EMS in place, manufacturers can store, organize, review, and evaluate their environmental impact and performance as it relates to regulatory requirements as well as internal objectives and goals related to compliance, pollution prevention, resource conservation as well as reduced costs and increased efficiencies too.
Leverage Renewable Energy — Renewable energy isn’t just solar power. There are many options for renewable resource options including rain, wind, ocean power, bio energy, etc. When utilized, all have the ability to reduce the use of non-renewable resources such as coal, oil, or gas.
Partner with Eco-Friendly Suppliers — Uniting with other eco-friendly companies not only promotes internal goals of going green but also promotes the business of the partners and suppliers with the same objective.
General Energy-Saving Practices — These are easier to implement and follow if going green as a manufacturer seems like a big chore.
- Turn equipment off when not operating.
- Open up windows and doors for natural light.
- Switch to LED lights.
- Make sure there are recycling options in lunch and breakrooms.
- Consider implementing earlier work hours in the summer to avoid additional operating costs with the AC turned on.
- Work to ensure predictive maintenance is a #1 goal for increasing the lifetime value and durability of production machinery.
- Go digital. Auto deposit paychecks where possible or use electronic apps for internal messaging and communications.
Check out these manufacturers who have found ways to go green and are seeing the positive results from it!
- SC Johnson closed down 2019 on a high when 100% of their factories sent zero waste to landfills.
- Patagonia uses recycled materials in over 60% of their fabrics and is working to remove all nylon from their clothing since it’s made with petrochemicals.
- Hudson Technologies “spent two years and over $2 million in research, development, capital costs, and training to ensure all our operations and products met stringent environmental standards” including replacing traditional chlorinated lubricants with biodegradable lubricants and removing solvent-based metal cleaners from their operations.
- Bombardier has pledged over 50% of their R&D investments toward the goal of greener aircraft, among many other activities in their ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) plan.
- New Belgium Brewing is a Certified B Corporation (cool!) who only uses sustainable vendors and ensures 99.9% of their waste doesn’t end up in a landfill.
We’re not the only ones talking about increased sustainability across the industry either. We heard so much about it at industry events over the last year that we’ve previously written about how early adopters are already reaping the benefits. The list goes on and on! Find more Green Manufacturers here and here!