Many of us already sort domestic waste to help protect the environment. We collect for example paper, tin, plastic, glass, and food in separate containers to enable their reuse as materials for new products or in energy production. However, as simple as waste sorting seems, it can sometimes cause great confusion among the users, leading to questions such as: How do I know in which container the waste belongs? Where can I find the right container? Would it not be easier just to drop the garbage off at the nearest possible recycling site?
In industrial manufacturing, finding the right ways to sort waste can be even more complex. For example, just identifying the materials and separating the chosen recyclables may turn out to be tricky and inefficient. Even so, we know that proper recycling usually proves worthwhile, as improving the environment depends on these kinds of daily actions, and it can also benefit business.
At Teleste’s Littoinen factory, we decided to take a closer look at our recycling practices. We found out that our recycling drop-off point had been in use in the manufacturing for quite some time, and there was indeed room for improving its usability and making sorting of the recyclables easier. It was time for an overall reform of the drop-off zone and our waste logistics.
The redesigned drop-off zone was taken into use in October 2017. It provides a clean and simple layout for sorting recyclables. All containers are labelled clearly with explicit lists of materials allowed in each of them, and there are separate containers for, e.g., paper, energy waste, metal, batteries, aluminium, copper, circuit boards, cables, strip lights and much more. The drop-off point was even moved to another location to make it more easily accessible for our personnel. In addition, we were given the opportunity to enhance our environmental awareness through training provided by our local waste logistics partner.
“We were really inspired to see how well this project was received at our Littoinen factory. Many of us really care for the environment and are willing to take actions to improving it, also at work. And, as this project shows, even small things can make a difference; when recycling is easily accessible, and you know how to do it correctly, the amount of recycled materials starts to grow,” concluded Kirsi Mastomäki, Corporate Quality Manager for Teleste. “Together with our local waste logistics partner, we will continue to raise the environmental awareness at Teleste and provide training for our other organizations as well in 2018.”
What were the benefits of our project? Today, we are more enthusiastic about recycling and more aware of how to do it right. Improving the waste logistics process has resulted in reduced recycling costs and a larger amount of recycled materials. We are proud to say that in October 2017 our recycling rate reached 87%. We can follow the status of recycling on a monthly basis, which helps in planning for the future and managing the overall process.