A plan for recycling? Why would you need that? If it’s plastic, glass, paper or metal, you chuck it in a bin, someone takes it away, job done. Well, it might sound that easy, but in its current form, recycling may actually be costing you both time and money. And while recycling is an essential process for any responsible manufacturer, it’s crazy to penalise yourself for being a good corporate citizen. So here’s how to get your recycling systems working in an environmentally friendly and factory-friendly plan that can generate some serious paybacks.
How much and where?
The first step is to determine which items your factory recycles – or could recycle – and make a rough estimate of volumes. Assess where the bulk of these recyclables are being generated and how they’re being collected. Are most coming from a single source or are the sources scattered?
Are they items from your flammable storage cabinet? How close to the source are your recycle bins? How much time do workers spend in transit between workstation and bin? .
Map out your site by bin
This is where ‘time in motion’ comes into play. Basically you have two goals: one, to ensure as much recyclable material can be collected, and two, that it can be collected and made ready for transportation with minimal disruption to productivity. So work out bin requirements per location. Can one large bin be placed immediately adjacent to the source and still be accessible by truck? Or do you require a number of smaller mobile bins with a central collection point outside? They key is to minimise distances and maximise ease.
Announce it and trial it
There may be some teething problems, so the first step is to announce the new strategy by memo or meeting so all staff buy into it. Tell them why you’re doing it and how you’re doing it; above all, make it important. Assign managers and supervisors to report any issues and to keep a close eye on efficiencies. Remember, the goal is to create a recycling accumulation system that works with your core purpose, not against it.
Rework until it’s a matter of routine
As the chinks in your recycling plan are ironed out you can begin to set everything in stone. Once you’re happy, create a manual; a blueprint detailing the reasons why and the processes all staff – including new employees – are required to put into practice as part of their daily routine.