An Understanding of Waste
On Monday I ran a waste awareness session with one of my large clients’ employees. I used a range of green jujitsu techniques to properly engage with the participants: the session was designed to appeal to the attendees (engineering/manufacturing), getting them involved in generating solutions, and using questions rather than statements.
And no Powerpoint, just flip charts and the template you can see above. The main exercise was to join the dots between Goods In and Goods Out, plot waste streams from the manufacturing process to the three main disposal routes, and then think of ways to move these streams up the waste hierarchy.
It all went jolly well and the feedback was 100% positive.
At the end of the session, as I do, I asked participants what they had learnt and thought I would share the results in generic terms as they nailed the key issues:
1. An appreciation of the true cost of waste – including costs other than disposal, such as processing of materials up to the point they became waste, energy, labour, storage, documentation and raw materials. (It was the last one which took the longest to drag out of them.)
2. To challenge implicit assumptions – waste isn’t inevitable but is within the control of the company. The problem isn’t in the skips round the back of the factory, but in the design process, procurement decisions and production management.
3. The need to communicate this awareness to everyone.
The important meme to communicate here is “waste is a verb not a noun” – resources are wasted, rather than being waste in themselves.