Industrial Waste Management Guide for Plant Managers
Proper industrial waste management procedures are critical to the smooth operation of a plant.
An efficient waste management process is vital to stay within regulatory requirements, reduce maintenance and cleaning costs, protect your workers, and maintain operational efficiency with less downtime.
Let’s dive into what industrial waste is, why proper management is essential, and five ways to improve hazardous waste disposal procedures.
What Is Industrial Waste?
Industrial waste is any waste produced as a byproduct of industrial processes where the material is deemed unusable. Industrial waste comes from mills, chemical plants, manufacturing facilities, and mining operations.
It’s estimated that the United States alone produces as high as 7.6 billion tons of industrial waste every year.
Industrial waste can either be hazardous or nontoxic. Both types need to be managed and disposed of properly — but especially hazardous waste so that it doesn’t lead to environmental, mechanical, or employee safety risks.
Waste from industrial facilities can be in gas, liquid, solid, or semi-solid form. Some examples include dirt and gravel, wood and lumber scraps, sludge, oil, trash, scrap metals, concrete, and food.
Why Waste Management Is Important in Industrial Plants
Proper waste management at industrial plants is crucial to keep processes running smoothly and employees safe. Here are some benefits to managing waste effectively.
When waste isn’t managed and disposed of properly, it can lead to extended downtime on-site, which increases costs and contributes to missed project deadlines.
An inefficient waste management system also increases the risk of product contamination, leading to lost projects and a poor reputation in your industry.
As a plant manager, hiring a waste management company to handle all of your industrial waste logistics will free up your time to spend on core tasks and eliminate the stress of meeting waste management regulations. A waste management company will strategize and handle all of the logistics for you.
Abiding by Regulations
Regulations are in place to monitor environmental impacts and worker safety. Waste management regulations are created on local and federal levels — following them will help you avoid fines and penalties.
Increased Worker Safety
When industrial waste isn’t managed correctly, employees get exposed to harmful gases and toxic materials that can cause short-term and long-term effects on their health.
The International Journal of Waste Resources estimates two million working hours are lost to work-related illness, while another two million people say they suffer from an illness they believe was caused by their work.
When employees miss work due to illness, it causes a ripple effect. If workers aren’t present, their work can’t be done, industrial sites can’t function effectively, project deadlines get missed, and costs increase. Plus, a company that doesn’t care for its employees will quickly gain a poor reputation.
Lowered Disposal and Cleaning Costs
By improving your waste management process, you are taking the first step toward lowering the cost of your plant operations. An ineffective waste management process causes waste to accumulate and contaminate — this costs more time and money for your team to strategize, clean, and potentially sort materials and assets.
Help the Environment
Efficient processes regarding waste management are important to save the environment and avoid contamination.
Waste that is not managed and disposed of correctly can lead to soil, water, and air contamination. Contaminated soil and water harm animals and humans alike.
How To Improve Your Plant’s Waste Management
After understanding why industrial waste management is important, it’s time to learn how to improve your process.
Create a Waste Management Team
One of the most important plant manager skills is knowing when to delegate. It’s impossible for plant managers to be everywhere at once.
Instead of overlooking industrial site needs and procedures, hire a waste management team to help. A waste management team can handle the waste management strategy, analyze current processes, and implement more efficient changes.
A few positions you can fill to lighten your load are:
- Environmental planner
- Maintenance director
- Planning and scheduling manager
- Operations manager
Individuals with the above titles and experience will help ensure waste management procedures and regulations get met.
Review Your Current Waste Removal Strategies
How is your company currently handling the waste it produces?
How often are you scheduling your disposal and asset cleaning for waste management?
Take a look at what processes need to be handled by a human and what can be done with robotics or automation to increase efficiency and free up time for yourself and your employees. Also, note what tasks can be outsourced to a third party.
Don’t be complacent when it comes to your industrial waste management procedures. Reviewing, analyzing, and strategizing new methods is crucial for efficiency and keeping up with local and federal regulations.
Find Your Waste Management Partners
As you decide what steps in your waste management process can be outsourced and what can be automated, look for partners to handle what shouldn’t or can’t be done by in-house employees.
For example, consider hiring a sludge removal company. A sludge removal company can manage many maintenance and disposal tasks and clean tanks, slumps, trenches, vessels, as well as deep containers.
A sludge removal or waste management company will help you reduce your environmental impact, protect employees, and speed up your processes.
Train Employees and Implement Process Changes
As you start to adopt new technologies and processes, it is important to properly train your employees and provide clear and concise instructions for how your new and improved waste management system works.
Record Your Progress
To know for sure that your processes are working, safe, and efficient, make sure to review your progress when you make process changes.
Take advantage of data and analytics to see how the numbers stack up to your past efforts.
If there is an area that needs improvement, act swiftly and implement the necessary changes. As time goes on, you will continue to optimize your process to its fullest potential.
Start Increasing Your Waste Management Efficiency Today
A plant manager’s responsibility is to ensure your site is managing and disposing of waste properly.
An efficient waste management system will keep your company in line with federal and local regulations, improve worker safety, benefit the environment, lower maintenance costs, and improve overall company efficiency.
If you choose to outsource your waste management help or are interested in automating your processes, utilizing robotics is a beneficial, forward-thinking option. See the many advantages of robots over humans and how they can benefit your facility.