We rely on natural resources to fuel our economies and produce essential materials we need to survive; as the world population and economy increase, so does the demand for natural resources such as water, minerals, forests, fertile soil, and fossil fuels. Unless we adopt more conservative production methods, we will use natural resources faster than nature can replenish them.
A great way to conserve natural resources is to optimize our production process to reduce the number of natural resources in production and subsequently reduce waste in production. For instance, by adopting eco-friendly practices in your business, such as custom mailer boxes by Arka or other types of sustainable packaging, you can reduce your business production waste and help to conserve raw materials.
This article explores strategies businesses and individuals can use to reduce the waste of natural resources and the benefits resulting from their implementation.
Understanding Natural Resources Waste in Production
There are three major types of natural resource waste in production: material, energy, and pollution.
1) Material waste is generated using raw materials that are not important to the production process or using excess packaging for products. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), about 62 billion tons of raw materials are extracted annually from the earth. Of this amount, twenty percent goes to waste. We can avoid material waste by carefully reviewing the production process to ensure that every raw material has particular importance at every production stage.
2) Energy waste happens when we use energy inefficiently or consume energy excessively, resulting in a waste of energy that could have been utilized more efficiently. Energy waste can occur in different forms, such as leaving machines on standby or using inefficient lighting systems. Energy waste can increase the carbon footprint of your business.
3) Pollution includes the byproducts of the production process that ends up in landfills. The health of humans, ecosystems, and the environment may be adversely affected by pollution from production processes.
4) Natural resource waste in production negatively impacts the environment, economy, and society. When resources are wasted, we deprive future generations of access to them due to resource depletion. It also causes environmental degradation, such as climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction. In addition, wasted resources can cause the business to incur more financial expenses during production.
Strategies for Reducing Natural Resource Waste in Production
Here are some strategies for reducing natural resource waste in production.
Adopting Sustainable Production Practices
This includes streamlining the production process to minimize the environmental impacts of production. It focuses on reducing natural resources waste, depletion, and pollution by using environmentally friendly production practices. Such practices include:
- Adopting circular economy principles.
- Using cleaner energy sources.
- Sustainable packaging.
- Optimizing the use of raw materials in production.
Adopting sustainable production practices offers several businesses to businesses. Companies adopting sustainable production practices enjoy a competitive edge over those that do not. Forbes reports that customers demand sustainability. You can win over customers who value the environment by demonstrating your commitment to reducing your business waste.
Reducing Material Usage and Waste
Reducing your raw materials usage in production is a significant step in promoting sustainable production and reducing the amount of waste your business produces. It involves performing a production process review to determine how to streamline the process to conserve natural resources, reduce waste, and improve production efficiency.
You should also conduct a waste assessment to track your waste production activities and find innovative ways to reduce or send them back into the production process, creating a circular economy. A circular economy is an economic model that aims to keep resources as long as possible in the production process by recycling materials and reusing production byproducts. This helps the company reduce their reliance on virgin raw materials and reduce natural waste in production.
Improving Supply Chain Management
Supply chain management is a business strategy that controls the transportation of goods and services from the supplier to the final consumer. You can manage the supply chain to reduce the environmental impacts of your business from start to finish. For instance, you could start by ensuring that your raw materials come from a supplier that adheres to sustainable production practices.
You can also improve your supply chain management by using sustainable packaging practices like custom packaging, lighter packaging, and recyclable and biodegradable packaging, so your business gets cost savings and less waste generation. You can optimize transportation and logistics, so your business has lesser environmental impacts in terms of carbon emissions during transportation and packaging waste.