Making a waste prevention plan

Making a waste prevention plan
© treenabeena, image #170435172, 2017, source:
Materials, Waste
All sectors
Low cost
Annual saving:
1 - 10 % / 100 - 1000€
Payback time:
0.25 - 5 Year(s)
Payback time:
Variable payback; shorter for smaller investments and companies, 3-5 year for medium-sized companies
Total cost savings:
€ 100 to € 1 000 in savings per employee, and up to 10% of turnover equivalent savings can be achieved through waste-prevention measures
Premises and operation areas:
Office management, Production processes, Supply operations, Waste and recycling
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
What is in it for you:
Meet regulatory requirements. Reduce disposal costs. Divert waste from landfill and reduce carbon emissions. Minimise costs associated with raw materials. Maximise efficiencies and profitability per unit of production.
Descriptive information:

Cutting waste in a systematic way will help SMEs to reduce cost and save material. A special waste-prevention plan will be very helpful in introducing such a systematic approach. It helps to understand where resources are used, where waste is generated, and to find and prioritise waste-reducing and resource-saving opportunities.

To prevent waste within your organisation, you need to understand how waste occurs, so that you can develop appropriate actions for dealing with the different waste streams that arise. Often, the main sources of wasted resources at work are inefficient systems and poor working practices. To understand where inefficiencies occur in your organisation, you should develop a waste map.

Waste maps highlight all the processes in your organisation and the waste that is associated with each. This should be used during a walk around of your site, to help gather data on your current resource consumption and waste. This will give you a good understanding of the resources used and different kinds of waste generated. Create a process-waste flowchart to help you record the quantities and costs of inputs to, and waste streams from, each of your processes.

During production, eco-design thinking should be applied to focus on:

  • Increasing repair ability
  • Reducing material consumption
  • Reducing secondary inputs
  • Reducing hazardous substances

SMEs can follow readily available methodologies and templates for designing a waste prevention plan, e.g. the guidance and the template provided by Zero Waste Scotland.

The practice has shown between € 100 and € 1 000 savings per employee and up to 10 % of turnover equivalent savings can be achieved through waste-prevention measures developed in the plan.

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