Consumers, nowadays, are focusing on buying greener products. Sustainability is a very popular term among millennials. This concern for the environment has led to many advances and technological breakthroughs. However, there are many issues left which we need to address. This is particularly the case when it comes to our methods of production. Factories are amongst the primary causes of pollution. Unless they become eco-friendly factories, there’s no hope for any respite. Some changes are easy but even though others may be trickier and more expensive to carry out, still they are essential for the planet’s future well-being.
11 Ways necessary for eco-friendly factories
It seems like an anomaly that a factory can ever be eco-friendly. However, from the manufacturing aspect, a factory can adopt certain procedures to make the process environment-friendly.
1. Efficient, waste-free energy use
Principles of reduction of the environmental impact of production involve many steps. The most important out of these is using materials that have as little impact as possible on the environment. Furthermore, it also includes manufacturing products in a way that consumes as little energy as possible and creates minimum waste. One should pay attention to saving energy. It directly affects the volume of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that cause global warming.
2. Efficient generation of electricity and heat
Cogeneration (CHP: Combined Heat and Power) systems installed at plants have played a major role in achieving our energy saving goals related to production activities. Cogeneration systems generate electricity and useful heat from oil, gas or some other primary energy source. Before CHP systems existed, exhaust gas produced as a byproduct of electricity generation. This would be let out at a very high temperature without this heat being used, but cogeneration systems help to utilize this byproduct heat by boilers to be reused as steam.
3. Generate clean energy
Heat pumps rise in temperature if compressed, and drop in temperature if expanded, and flow from high temperature to low temperature locations. Heat pumps use unutilized heat in air or water as a heat source to raise or lower the temperature of a coolant by compressing or decompressing it.
Extracting energy from ambient air or ambient water and generating no emissions, heat pumps have long been used in air conditioners, water heaters and other familiar appliances but nowadays should also be used for manufacturing processes that require hot water. The heat pumps will be able to create heat and cooled water at the same time. The heat will be used for sterilization, and the cooled water for air conditioning and other purposes. When you compare this method with the old method of burning fossil fuels, use of heat pumps helps in curbing of energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
4. Reuse waste products
In terms of production activities, factories should adopt the zero emissions approach to reducing final disposal waste . Waste should be incinerated to be used as heat energy avoiding waste and generating energy. Factories should also have outside partner businesses take the remaining waste for recycling.
5. Environment-friendly manufacturing
Companies should focus to ensure that all their factory sites are environment-friendly plants: effective use of resources, reduction of CO2 emissions through the deployment of low carbon process technologies, reduction of water consumption through the use of 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) technologies, and implementation of environmental management to conserve biodiversity through the appropriate management of chemicals and cooperation with local communities.
6. Use energy efficient equipment
Recent advances in manufacturing technology have resulted in the production of machinery which is extremely energy efficient. The benefit of this new and improved eco friendly factory equipment is not only for the environment, but also for your factory as the performance would improve and increase productivity. Start up factories can invest in eco friendly machines right from the beginning, so as to support and participate in the Green movement. Green machinery can even be bought at reduced prices, and many manufacturers offer great deals and savings. Apart from that, the many governments offer incentives to green factories and you’d also be saving on energy bills and reducing waste.
7. Change the lighting
Traditional lighting consumes a lot of energy and generates a higher cost too. The first thing you could do is change over to LED or CFL lights which have much less energy requirement. Another important thing you should start practicing in your factory, is that of switching off lights when not in use. If your factory has both day and night shifts, you may not be able to switch the lights off. However, you can make the most of natural light to reduce the use of artificial light. Removing blinds and shades from the windows during the day is a small change. It can contribute a lot to reducing your ubut’s energy consumption.
8. Source raw material locally
Transportation of raw material is one of the things which leads to increase in the overall carbon footprint of your factory. Raw material which is sourced from a huge distance or is imported, consume a huge amount of fossil fuels, as well as polluting the atmosphere during travel. Sourcing raw material locally will reduce the carbon footprint of your factory drastically, and support the local community too.
9. Change to alternative energy
Alternative energy such as wind, solar and hydroelectric energy is one of the best ways to reduce your manufacturing unit’s utility bills as well as supporting the environment. These systems were earlier used only by the wealthiest and largest factories, but now even small scale factories can use alternative energy sources at affordable rates. Your factory can install solar panels and use the stored energy, and you could even sell the excess energy back to the grid.
10. Recycle, reuse and reduce
The three ‘R’s form the base of the Green movement. You can develop ways in which you can Recycle the material produced in your factory, which might help to Reduce the use of raw material and Reuse all that is possible to be reused. This will reduce the waste that is produced in your factory. Try and reuse pallets, packaging, plastic and recycle your waste to reduce your carbon footprint.
11. Shift to new methods of production
Traditional methods of production have proved to be one of the most polluting factors. Changes can be made in many sectors of industry. For example, new technology has led to the setting up of food growing ‘factories’. These are better than traditional agriculture methods which use a huge amount of water and space. Corporates worldwide are now setting up ‘vertical’ food factories. These have the capacity to produce a huge amount of food in a small amount of spac. Moreover, they also use less amount of water.
Energy saving tricks and tips which are used at home can be applied to your factory too. You and your co-workers have to inculcate an eco-friendly mindset so that you can be a part of the Green movement successfully.