Why Manage Your Industrial Waste?

Did you know that in 2019, Malaysia generated 4.0 million tonnes of scheduled wastes?

Power plants, metal refineries, chemical industries, electrical and electronics contributed 57.1 per cent (2.3 million tonnes) to total scheduled wastes. The total amount of waste has always increased due to industrial development, population growth and urbanisation in this country. 1  

Industrial waste is the waste produced by industrial activity which includes any material that is rendered useless during manufacturing processes from factories, mills, and mining operations. Some types of industrial waste include dirt, gravel, concrete, scrap metal, oil, solvents, chemicals, scrap lumber – the list goes on.

Industrial waste may be solid, semi-solid or liquid in form. It may be hazardous or non-hazardous waste and may pollute soil or adjacent water bodies and can contaminate groundwater, lakes, streams, rivers or coastal waters. 2

The general meaning of waste or industrial waste as stated in Section(s) 2 of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 (Act 127) and Regulations (EQA 1974):

 “Waste includes any matter prescribed to be scheduled wastes, or any matter whether in a solid, semi-solid or liquid form, or in the form of gas or vapor which is emitted, discharged or deposited in the environment in such volume, composition or manner as to cause pollution.

This includes any garbage, refuse, sludge from a waste treatment plant, water treatment plant or air pollution control facility and other discarded material, including solid, liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations, and from community activities.”

Malaysia is among the countries that has practiced end-of-pipe treatment or regulation for quite a long time. Fundamentally, end-of-pipe technology is the traditional approach to waste management – think ‘burn it’, ‘sink it’ or ‘bury it’ solutions – and these have no doubt come under increasing scrutiny.

Recently, the concept of waste management is being highly promoted among organisations. Preferable options are waste prevention either through product substitution or process replacement and source reduction, process modification and improvement to equipment design. 3

There are major benefits of waste management and industrial waste recycling.

No matter what industry you’re in, be it manufacturing or medical to agricultural or energy production, you are most certainly to produce waste. Here are four benefits of implementing industrial recycling into your waste management program:

Reduce Costs

There are obvious costs when you dispose unused materials and commercial by-products.

By finding ways to reuse waste, whether it’s within your company or through a third-party, it  helps to reduce these expenses.

Additionally, you can lower costs by purchasing raw materials made from recycled materials. One example is aluminium – one of the fastest and easiest materials to recycle and used heavily in manufacturing. It costs almost double to buy fresh aluminium compared to recycled aluminium.

Save Resources and Energy

This is a highly important benefit of industrial recycling. You reduce your footprint on the environment and put less strain on our natural resources.

Decreasing the need for fresh raw material through recycling and reusing, lessens the need for landfills, reduces greenhouse emissions and other pollutants that arise as landfills breakdown.

Creating a Sustainable Brand

There are social benefits of industrial recycling as your business strives to be sustainable. It shows a commitment to your community which can give you a competitive edge in the market and elevate public perception. Many businesses are reaping the benefits of switching their business models to become more sustainable.

Job Creation

The process of recycling industrial waste includes transportation, processing and reselling – all of which requires manpower of all skill levels. Recycling and reusing create at least nine times more job opportunities according to a study done in the United States. 4

Stay Compliant

Local, state and federal governments require waste producers to abide by many regulations to ensure the safety of the environment and wellbeing of communities. Responsible waste management can help your operation comply with these regulations and prevent penalties in the future.

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