Manufacturers stand to gain from finding ways to make their operations greener.
According to a post on the Manufacturing Trends and News blog, green manufacturing is all about sustainability. The key to sustainability is to ensure that what you do today won’t come back to haunt you later with detrimental effects to health, the environment or finances.
While humanity benefited greatly from the Industrial Revolution, there were also long-term negative consequences, including pollution and resource depletion. Today, businesses, consumers and government leaders understand that they must evaluate their actions to determine whether they’re sustainable.
With a history of past excesses as the backdrop, a Green Revolution is underway in the manufacturing industry. Many new technologies fall into the green manufacturing category, including lean systems to reduce waste, renewable energy sources and product lifecycle management systems. An article from Fast Company magazine highlights additional ways companies are making their operations greener. Here’s a look at three of the examples cited.
1. General Mills recycles solid waste: General Mills used to pay to have its solid waste taken to a landfill, but the company discovered other uses for byproducts. For example, it took oat hulls, a byproduct of Cheerios, and burned it as fuel. Customers are now lining up to buy the material, and in 2006, the cereal maker recycled 86 percent of its solid waste.
2. Wal-Mart invests in hybrid trucks: The world’s largest retailer is betting on hybrid technology to power its truck fleet, which is the second largest in the U.S. It’s paying for ArvinMeritor, Eaton, International and Peterbilt to create the first heavy-duty diesel-hybrid 18-wheeler.
3. Coors turns waste beer into ethanol: Through a partnership with Merrick & Company, an engineering firm in Colorado, Coors takes waste beer and produces 3 million gallons of ethanol a year. The 200-proof product is then sold to Valero Energy and distributed in gas stations in Colorado.
Businesses 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.
Source: Manufacturing Trends and News, December 2013