Greening the Manufacturing Process: A Quick Overview
To achieve an environmentally friendly and more sustainable manufacturing process, factories are going green.
Manufacturing is one of the driving forces of the U.S. economy. The industry is virtually connected to every sector and is continuously growing, with an estimated 4 million jobs to be created by 2030. While manufacturing is beneficial for employment and economic growth, the same, however, cannot be said for the environment.
It is a known fact that factories are significant contributors to air pollution, toxic waste disposal, greenhouse gasses and water contamination. To lessen the impact of production, some factories are taking the initiative and implementing more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices through a method called green manufacturing.
Green manufacturing, often interchangeably used with sustainable manufacturing, is defined as the “greening” of the manufacturing process. To promote sustainability, this method reduces pollution and waste by minimizing the consumption of natural resources and reducing, reusing and recycling the materials used. Not only does this method involve the in-house production process, but it also takes the entire manufacturing process from gathering raw materials to distributing the product into consideration.
According to the International Trade Administration guide, using renewable materials that don’t deplete the natural environment and reducing the amount of material consumed are ways to practice green manufacturing. Considering the amount of material used and what types of materials are used can help make greener choices like opting for recycled materials or cutting out unnecessary waste. Finding ways to modify the production process to use less energy, water, materials, and packaging is another way to minimize waste and result in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing process.
Before producing any product, it is important to take into account the quality and life cycle of the product during the planning phase. Finding ways to stretch a product’s life to be used for a more extended amount of time is beneficial in lowering manufacturing waste and reducing the environmental impact. The disposal of the product after it has lived its life is also important. Designing the product to be reusable, recyclable or biodegradable can help keep the product in the loop and lessen its impact on the environment.
Since the average person spends a third of their life at work, it’s important that they spend that time in a clean and safe space. Green factories aim to provide just that through their environmentally friendly standards. To be considered a green factory, a building must be designed, constructed and operated in a way that generates a sustainable performance.
The United States Green Building Council (USGBC), guides green buildings around the world through their globally leading program called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Through this certification program, the organization aims to promote green building and transform all buildings to run more sustainably.
Some key aspects of a green building that the program measures are the reduction of energy and water use, healthy environmental quality, smart material selection and a building’s effect on its site. As a result, these buildings improve the well-being of the building environment and the people working in them, which overall positively affects public health.
Greening the manufacturing process also leads to significant environmental, financial and social gains. According to the EPA, green manufacturing produces results like lower resource and production costs, lower regulatory compliance costs and improved sales and brand recognition. Green manufacturing also results in an improved employee, community and product safety.
It is evident that sustainability is no longer an afterthought but an expectation of manufacturers. That is why at Dhakai, we connect with sustainable and trustworthy manufacturing partners to provide sustainable sourcing for all. Among our catalog of verified manufacturing partners are top-rated green factories that can supply your next project. To learn more about how you can connect your brand to green factories, sign up at dhakai.com/registration.