Reducing waste in engineering

Waste segregation

Where wastes are generated from various stages of the production process, it will almost certainly pay to keep the wastes segregated rather than mixed. From the 1st January 2014 businesses will need to present metal, plastic, glass, paper and card for separate collection to comply with the Waste (Scotland) Regulations.

Garden waste

Grounds or lawned areas can generate a large quantity of green waste which is usually readily compostable. This can take place on-site for use by the business.

Wood fuel

If the site is a significant primary energy user and a generator of waste wood, there may be a case for reviewing the opportunity for the installation of a wood burning boiler. Opportunity usually arises where there is a demand for space heating/hot water.


Discarded chemical and oil containers present a particular risk of pollution. Ensure these are stored securely and staff are well briefed on how waste containers are to be managed.

Compactors and baling

Compacting waste may significantly reduce the volume and frequency of collections required. This may save money in waste disposal charges and reduced vehicle movements. Similarly, recycled material, cardboard and shrink wrap in particular, command higher prices if baled before collection.

Pallet Reuse

Specify standard pallets from your suppliers and reuse them for the distribution of your own products. If you have damaged pallets, try repairing them before recycling.

Supplier take-back schemes

Reusable business-to-business packaging and storage equipment is increasingly common. Ask your suppliers to use reusable packaging wherever possible. Look for supplier take-back schemes or investigate reuse options with local businesses.

Rainwater harvesting

Rainwater from guttering can be used on gardens or for vehicle cleaning. However, harvesting rainwater may be costly with numerous down-pipes and quantities of water collected from a limited roof area will be low regardless of the level of rainfall.


Clear signage is essential in order to guide staff on what can and cannot be put in waste containers. Signage should be unambiguous and include a mix of words and pictures.


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