Manufacturers could save millions by reducing waste

UK manufacturers could save up to £1,000 per employee by reducing waste and improving their resource efficiency, and the country could save up to £500 million a year, according to sustainability experts.

The claim came as Envirowise, a government-sponsored organisation which promotes and advises on sustainability programmes, linked up with the EEF to launch Rethink Waste, a free initiative intended to help companies discover the true cost of waste to their business.

"While many UK manufacturers have enthusiastically adopted recycling measures, there are more opportunities to reduce and re-use materials as well – actions that could substantially benefit their bottom line. With landfill tax set to rise to £48 per tonne in 2010/2011, the economic imperative to minimise waste at every opportunity is clear," said Michael Savage, a production specialist with Envirowise.

Companies can register online for Rethink Waste from next month up to the end of December, and the course begins early in 2010. Three online advice modules will take businesses through the key steps of collecting benchmarking data, developing an action plan and then implementing a waste saving strategy. Participants will also have access to a virtual factory tour, audiocasts and an online resource efficiency conference.

Gareth Stace, the EEF's head of environment, said that the employers' organisation welcomed Rethink Waste as another way to help the manufacturing sector get the best from its resources.

"As outlined in EEF's recent Manufacturing Our Future report, climate change is a long-term challenge that manufacturers will need to face if they are to survive and thrive," he said. "Free initiatives such as Rethink Waste offer a practical and accessible route to resource efficiency and we will be encouraging our members to take part."

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