According to experts, we are only nine years away from permanent climate change. It may not seem like nearly enough time to take us off this path, but we can achieve a lot in nine years if everyone does their part—especially the biggest producers of waste and carbon emissions.
Industrial plants are some of the biggest manufacturers of waste, carbon emissions, and pollutants. As such, their movement against climate change can contribute significantly to the battle. Here are some of the best ways the industry can move forward to a greener and more sustainable future—not only for themselves but for the rest of the world as well.
1. Reducing oil waste
Many industrial plants use chemical flushing to get rid of varnish and accumulate sludge from hydraulic machines. However, the detergents and dispersants in chemical flushing can damage the machine and its components like hydraulic oil, leading to expensive repairs, extended downtimes, and oil waste. A good strategy against this problem is the use of soluble oil varnish removal solutions, which can help companies avoid repairs and reduce their oil waste.
Furthermore, using this method of varnish and sludge removal can also prevent machine breakages, which, in turn, reduces the need for new parts or new machines entirely and helps avoid metal waste.
2. Sourcing materials from sustainable sources
Industrial manufacturing plants can significantly reduce their carbon footprint by sourcing sustainable sources with lower waste production and energy consumption. These materials should also be easy to reuse, repurpose, or compost if they become surplus during production.
3. Leveraging circular manufacturing
Circular manufacturing is a sustainable solution that helps companies save energy and reduce waste. This solution involves:
- Using renewable power sources that are more environmentally friendly and can even help the company reduce overhead costs.
- Reusing or repurposing materials produced in-house or produced by other companies reduces overall waste and makes the most out of available resources.
- Using predictive maintenance to prevent breakdowns, reduce downtime, and decrease the value and durability of industrial machines and equipment.
- Leasing or lending equipment to reduce expenses and help other companies meet their needs without producing additional waste, as well as to produce additional income (lending).
4. Increasing locally sourced materials
To reduce their carbon footprint, industrial plants should increase the proportion of their locally sourced materials. Aside from being easier to procure, sources closer in distance consume less energy and time to transport.
5. Digitalizing paperwork and communications
Going digital is a green strategy that applies to almost any workplace. In industrial plants, digitalizing paperwork and communications can not only reduce literal tons of paper waste, but it can also make the workplace safer and more efficient.
For instance, plants can use mobile communication for day-to-day operations. Aside from allowing workers to communicate in real-time, digital communication eliminates the need for daily memos, bulletin boards, and any other messages or alerts written on paper. Incorporating mobile communication in the workplace is also a great way to increase safety since important alerts can be sent to all employees instantly.
6. Upgrading preventive maintenance strategies
Industrial plants already have preventive maintenance strategies in place, but not all of them might be effective. That said, companies can benefit from modifying or upgrading their preventive maintenance plan to make equipment less prone to breaking and catching potential issues before they occur.
Perhaps the biggest benefit to this strategy is that fewer incidents of equipment failure mean fewer expenses on repairs and replacements. With this also comes less waste produced by replacing equipment or components from failures that could otherwise be avoided by good preventive maintenance.
Furthermore, preventive maintenance also helps keep machines remain efficient. In turn, efficient machines are less prone to using more energy than they normally need to function, leading to lower energy consumption, and thus, a smaller carbon footprint.
7. Using eco-friendly products in the workplace
Industrial plants can also become more sustainable by incorporating eco-friendly products in day-to-day operations. One great example is the use of LED lights. Aside from being more effective, this type of lighting consumes less energy than incandescent and halogen lights. Companies can also use eco-friendly products such as reusable water bottles and recycled paper to help employees reduce their own carbon footprints.
There are countless ways industrial plants and every other workplace in the world can become more sustainable. All it takes is a shift at the very top of the company, which will cause a change all the way to the very bottom, helping everyone be more mindful of the effect of their actions on the environment.