The benefits of green manufacturing are clear.
Green manufacturing practices help you increase operational efficiency, decrease overhead and reduce downtime. They help you improve employee morale. They can even strengthen your brand, build public trust and give you a competitive advantage.
At its core, green manufacturing is about sustainability — using fewer natural resources, reducing waste and moderating emissions, and recycling and reusing materials.
A growing number of manufacturers understand that they must evaluate their practices to determine whether they’re sustainable and how they can improve sustainability. As a result, they’re understanding what additional benefits they can gain by doing so.
Green manufacturing examples
Knowing the definition of green manufacturing is just the first step. Let’s look at some sustainable manufacturing examples so you can see it in action. There are quite a few manufacturers that are leveraging green practices:
1. Dell and HP
Dell and HP lead the way in computer manufacturing when it comes to recycling and reusing. They are both limiting environmental impact by allowing customers to hand over old computers, printers and even ink and toner cartridges for recycling. In fact, HP has recycled more than 875 million ink and toner cartridges. HP has also used more than 4.7 billion recycled plastic bottles and 114 million plastic clothes hangers to manufacturer new HP ink and toner cartridges.
The future will bring further improvements, too. Dell has committed to making 100% of its packaging and 50% of its products from recycled or renewable material by 2030.
Honda has an impressive commitment to sustainability. Its “Green Path” is designed to reduce and eliminate its use of substances of concern and scarce natural resources, develop products that are easier to recycle, and reduce water waste and CO2 emissions in the manufacturing process.
For example, Honda uses wind turbines at its Ohio plant to generate 10,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year.
It also moves 80% of vehicles from plant to dealership by train, which has reduced CO2 emissions by over 60%. And it developed a Honda Environmental Leadership Program to help its dealers reduce energy and water use and achieve electric-grid neutral status through the use of solar panels.
This is all in addition to the fact that Honda is a manufacturer of hybrid and zero-emission electric vehicles.
3. S.C. Johnson
S.C. Johnson has taken reducing waste seriously. In 2000, the company began working to reduce manufacturing waste from global facilities. Its goal was to cut waste by 70% by 2016 — a goal it reached three years early. Likewise, its goal of sending no waste to landfills by 2021 was actually reached at the close of 2018/19.
S.C. Johnson also developed its Greenlist system to rate the environmental and health effects of ingredients used in its products and even reformulate many of its products. For example, the company eliminated the use of nearly 4 million pounds of PVDC annually after its review of Saran Wrap. It has also reduced 1.8 million pounds of volatile organic compounds from Windex.
Get started with more sustainable manufacturing
Manufacturers shouldn't see pressure to make their operations greener as a burden. Rather, sustainability is an opportunity, and striving for it will help ensure long-term success.
Many new technologies fall into the green manufacturing category, including lean systems to reduce waste, renewable energy sources and product lifecycle management systems. You can learn more about how to get leaner and implement green manufacturing practices into your business by connecting with Wipfli.
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