Six steps to reducing waste

Applying a few simple strategies can allow recyclers to significantly reduce their waste on site, says Paul Smith, Product Development Manager for KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens. 

Glass, asphalt and concrete can be recycled back into materials suitable for infrastructure building and road projects. But recycling also comes with added waste, which is why equipment supplier Astec Australia has developed a strategy to identify and eliminate this on site.

Paul Smith, Product Development Manager for KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens, believes that applying lean principles can eliminate waste during aggregate processing operations.

He says that this involves a systematic and top-down approach. While this approach does not add value to a business, it can go a long way to reducing waste during recycling.

“As an example of non-value added activities to eliminate waste, let’s envision the process of scraping barnacles off the bottom of a cruise ship. While a critical task, the cost associated with this activity adds no value to the ticketed customer who bought a state room on the cruise ship and is sailing his family to Bora Bora,” Paul says.

“Chances are, your aggregate processing facility has pockets of barnacles within it as well. In fact, research indicates that 95 percent of all operating costs/activity are non- value added.”

Paul says a few examples of non-value added activities include maintaining attachments, dust suppression, drilling and basting, crusher liners and consumables, screening media, electricity and energy consumption and more.

“While all of these tasks are extremely critical, they really do not add any value to the end user or the customer of your products and services,” Paul adds.

What can businesses do to reduce their waste?

Appoint a value stream team

Paul says identifying employees from various aspects of the organisation can help to develop quick and easy ideas as opposed to groundbreaking solutions. These can include all areas of the recycling team, including production, management, accounting, safety or other non-production areas of the company.

“The idea is to find cross-functional associates who have fresh ideas that are willing to work without bias or pre-disposed ideas. The mindset should be about continuous improvement.”

Apply the five S’s

Once the team has selected its first workstation, Paul recommends they sort, straighten, standardise, shine and sustain the workstation.

Identify and analyse the system

Paul says businesses need to identify individual components of their systems and how they function together.

“Recognise that each component may work at a different rate, and ensure optimum production is achieved by analysing the system holistically. For example, what is the role, capacity and performance of the secondary crusher as it applies to the entire circuit? How is it performing? Where are the issues? How much is it costing to operate? Is it a bottleneck? If the five S process was thoroughly performed in step two, it should help identify the above.”

Identify a focus area

Paul says the status of the five S system and identification of bottlenecks should help provide good indicators of where to find opportunities to rapidly improve a specific area of the system. Some common opportunities include crusher configurations, screen configuration, waste water, conveyor ashing, transfer chutes and liners, safety and inspection reports and calibration, controls and connections.

To read more, see page 44 of Issue 12.