Manufacturing is one of the largest sectors in modern times. Every field from education to construction and technology to retail relies heavily on manufacturing in one form or the other. Green manufacturing is a fast-emerging trend that’s all the rage with its innovative approach that redefines manufacturing, infusing it with lean principles for greater efficiency and sustainability.
Let’s see what constitutes green manufacturing, understand its essential principles, and know how you can use it to transform your business.
What is Green Manufacturing?
At its basic core, green manufacturing is the production of goods and services in a way that is environment-friendly. Manufacturers ensure production uses as few natural resources as possible while also cutting down on pollution and the waste generated.
Emphasis is also placed on the use of recycled materials as much as possible, rather than using newer production inputs.
Why is Green Manufacturing Important?
Green manufacturing has many benefits indeed. The advantages for the environment are evident — green manufacturing reduces the negative footprint most manufacturing practices have on our natural ecosystems.
The practice also benefits businesses in more ways than one. For starters, businesses see improved public relations and positive portrayals of their brands in the public space. Green manufacturing businesses also typically see greater profits and improved employee and customer satisfaction.
The sector is rapidly creating new jobs which has sent waves across the planet. Green manufacturing holds exciting career opportunities for talent.
What are Green Manufacturing Principles?
Let’s take a quick look at the founding pillars of green manufacturing.
1. Deploy Environmental Impact Assessment
Central to green manufacturing processes is comprehensive environmental impact assessment. EIA needs to be integrated into all tools used by a business in a holistic manner to understand how each production activity impacts the environment. With a better understanding of the footprints of the manufacturing phases on ecosystems, businesses will be better armed to improvise and innovate for greener production.
2. Cultivate Life Cycle Thinking
Life cycle thinking is the practice of considering the entire life of a product right from the extraction of the raw materials that go into the making of the product to its consumption by end users and ultimately, its disposal.
When life cycle thinking is incorporated in all engineering processes, it is easier to optimize all production phases.
3. Reduce Waste
Lean processes have a core reliance on reducing wasteful activities and processes throughout production. Green manufacturing adds an environmental perspective to waste reduction as well. All wastes eventually end up in natural ecosystems and pose grave disposal problems, including contamination of natural water bodies, land, and air.
Green manufacturing strengthens lean’s commitment to eliminating waste with renewed vigor.
4. Use Renewable Energy
Central to green manufacturing practices is the reduction of natural resource consumption. Many resources are depleted in the course of production and are often non-renewable. Mining poses significant hazards to ecosystems around the world and is the source of all minerals and resources conventional manufacturing is based on.
Green manufacturing aims to employ recycling to reduce reliance on natural resources. It works in tandem with local cultures and indigenous communities to create new engineering solutions.
5. Reduced Pollution
Green manufacturing, by its very definition, aims to reduce the discharge of materials and wastes into the environment. Pollution is now a global problem that needs local and global action.
Manufacturing contributes to greenhouse emissions which is a direct contributor to global warming. Green manufacturing works to reduce the production of waste in every process and for the wastes that are produced, aims to collect, reuse, and compost them in a responsible manner.
Green manufacturing aims to address the many negative impacts the manufacturing sector brings for the health of ecosystems globally. The practice deploys technology to reduce waste production, and natural resource depletion, and conserve resources while improving energy efficiency at every step. Green technologies optimize energy use, focusing on environment-friendly sources of energy including biomass, landfill gas, and solar energy.
Life cycle thinking is a critical skill that needs to be mastered for success in the green manufacturing sector. Businesses need to consider the impact of every single step in the production processes on the environment in holistic terms.
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