Common Obstacles to Waste Min Programs: 2013 "State of the Plant" Infographic

Discussion in 'Infographics and Quickstart Guides' started by Andy, Oct 20, 2013.

  1. Andy

    Andy Administrator Waste Min Publisher 2013 Industrial Waste Survey Participant

    Common Obstacles to Waste Minimization Programs Infographic.png
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2014
  2. Andy

    Andy Administrator Waste Min Publisher 2013 Industrial Waste Survey Participant

    Here is a text-only version... this information is available as an easy to read infographic at:

    Common Obstacles to Waste Minimization Programs
    2013 State of the Plant Reports

    Every new program of initiative runs into obstacles: money, training, headcount, time and many others. But, like everything else, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

    To help you get a program started, we took a look at the obstacles plants tend to encounter in creating a successful waste min program. If you know what others are having problems with, you can better prepare your plant (and yourself) to overcome common obstacles. The Waste Minimization Forum ( conducted research with 304 leading plants across the US and found the following>

    Overcoming Obstacles & Removing Barriers
    When we talked to plants about their waste min programs, it seemed that many successful programs started slow, but grew quickly as the plant began to "buy in." So even more than having a detailed game plan to minimize waste, establishing a new program is all about overcoming obstacles and removing barriers.

    Top 5 Waste Min Obstacles Mentioned by Plants:
    1) Costs too much: 21%
    2) Employee training: 19%
    3) Getting buy-in from employees and management: 155
    4) Knowledge of options to minimize waste: 12%
    5) Don't have time: 8%
    Obstacle #1: "Waste minimization costs too much."
    "We are focusing on the minor cost of waste removal instead of the savings of better efficiency."
    "The cost of starting a program."
    "High expense of waste removal."
    "We need a way to recycle cardboard without high costs that can't be recovered."
    "Disposal of segregated waste is too expensive."

    Ideas to eliminate cost obstacles
    1) How much are you spending now?

    Have you looked at the cost of NOT minimizing waste and what your current labor, handling, disposal and training costs are?
    2) Take a page from other programs
    The #1 reason plants with successful waste min programs noted for starting their program: Cost Savings.
    3) Look at processes first for high ROI
    Don't think that a program has to involve new equipment. The first step is to involve the plant floor and ask for ideas to reduce waste. You might be surprised at the number of process changes you can find.
    4) Consider the bigger picture
    for example, reducing HAZ materials can mean less reporting, less paperwork, less potential for injuries, less training to do, and reduced disposal cost. Many programs also find productivity and efficiency gains.

    Success Stories:
    "We recycle paper waste and have a very good income from it. It more than pays for the landfill waste we dispose of."
    "We went from a 20yd dumpster twice a week to a 6yd dumpster once a week."
    "We now recycle 80yd of paper, plastic, cans and cardboard each week, and that number is still growing."
    Obstacles #2 and #3: Employee training and buy-in
    "Employees are only interested in productivity, not dealing with waste as they create it."
    "People need to start taking that second to think "Hey, that can be recycled."
    "I have to fight the belief that waste is inevitable."
    We're a 67 year old company with employees that have been here 40+ years. 'We never did it that way before.'"

    Ideas to eliminate buy-in obstacles
    1) Many plants talked about "improved morale" as an unexpected result of their waste min program
    Without us asking, 23% of those with waste min programs mentioned "employee morale" as a benefit of their waste min program. Why? Increased ownership, reduced waste and opportunities for process improvement.
    2) Starting a program is a great opportunity to involve employees
    The most successful programs set and monitor clear reduction goals, but they also rely heavily on the plant floor to help find opportunities and create those goals.
    3) Make the value of reducing waste clear
    People look at scrap cardboard differently when they know it is worth $120 a bale. They also look differently at waste if they know reduction is a company goal.
    4) Look at investing some of the savings from your waste program into employee picnics, raffles, etc.
    There are a variety of ways you can do this: from using a percentage of total waste savings or devoting the entire scrap value of one targeted wastestream (like aluminum cans) to an employee program. Either way, you might be amazed at how many new ideas pop up.

    Success Stories:
    "An engaged workforce that is coming up with their own great ideas on how to reduce waste in their specific area."
    "'Pride of ownership' has improved from our program, and production rework has been reduced."
    "With metal recycling, we are able to put money into an employee events fund. Play time = happier employees."
    There is light at the end of the tunnel (along with a lot of benefits for your plant)

    One of the best ways to eliminate obstacles is by learning from others who have already been there. From chemical substitution to recycling options, new developments happen every day. Either way, keep moving forward... there is light at the end of the tunnel, along with a lot of benefits for your plant.

    "We have reduced our oily process wastewater by over 75%."
    "Universal waste has been reduced by 26 yds per week over the past 4 years."
    "We have gone from a large quantity generator to a small quantity generator."
    "At first, it was getting everyone used to not throwing everything away. But with training and providing easy access to recycling containers, we have about 100% involvement."
    5 Things to know about The Waste Minimization Forum
    1) It is a forum dedicated to sharing Best Practices for waste minimization, lean manufacturing and sustainability.
    2) We are dedicated to creating real, usable insights and information that plants can use NOW.
    3) No question is too large or too small for the Forum.
    4) No fluff or spin is allowed. No selling, no press releases.
    5) Join us at

    Comments, feedback or ideas for new research are greatly appreciated, and we hope you found this helpful. Contact Andy James, Publisher of the Waste Minimization Forum

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013