Industrial Waste Prevention

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Industrial waste results from the throwing away of a solid, liquid or gas by an industrial place of business into a public waste source. An industrial business that produces waste can prevent industrial waste by using waste minimization techniques, such as reduction, recycling and auditing. Waste minimization not only prevents excess waste output but reduces the toxicity of industrial waste.

Source Reduction

A reduction of the source of the waste is known as source reduction. This may include changing the composition of the waste product -- by cutting or melting -- or preventing hazardous materials from entering the production process through a monitored system. Technology may be used to make changes to the production process to prevent waste through measuring and cutting, special equipment or different operating conditions. Inventory control is another source reduction technique, which prevents industrial waste when an industry only purchases what they need to avoid waste from hazardous materials.

Recycling Techniques

Using recycling techniques will help prevent industrial waste. Recycling can return the waste material to its original process by making it non-hazardous or process the waste for resource recovery. Re-using waste material -- such as packaging materials -- will prevent industrial waste output.

Waste Audit

Conducting a waste audit will help to prevent industrial waste by analyzing the composition, weight and volume, and source of industrial waste output. A waste audit will first examine which materials and how much are being disposed of -- such as cardboard, paper, ink cartridges or aluminum cans -- and then determine what can be recycled that is currently not being recycled. Examining sources of waste will help determine where the waste is being generated and how it can be prevented. For example, paper can be used on both sides, packing materials may be reused, and office papers, glass, cans and bottles can be recycled. Locate where the waste can be recycled -- bins and cans clearly marked as recycling units -- and make it clear that these bins are for recycling only.

Cleaner Production

The Cleaner Production Program was launched by the United Nations Environment Program in 1989 for the continued application of an environmental strategy to prevent waste processes and products. The program includes conserving raw materials, eliminating toxic raw materials, and reducing toxicity and amount of waste. The program seeks to reduce negative impacts of a product by using a life cycle assessment, which looks at the environmental impact of a product from its extraction, through its manufacturing, to its disposal. By classifying and evaluating this data, they are then able to determine how the product may be improved to prevent waste. The program encourages employing designing and delivering services to incorporate environmental concerns in industrial workplaces.


In order for industrial waste prevention to truly be successful, a company must be committed to the management of waste, open to change, aware of resource availability, organize a planned approach and be cognizant of potential barriers to the program.