New methods for dealing with industrial waste reduce environmental impact

Sep 22, 2015 | Research/Cooperation

When it comes to reducing the environmental impact of industrial activities, the effective management of production materials is a decisive factor. Sasha Shahbazi, doctoral student at MDH, is researching the possibilities to improve this kind of management in manufacturing processes.

 

In his licentiate thesis, “Material efficiency management in manufacturing”, he investigates different approaches that can render the waste management of industrial companies more efficient. Among other things, this can lead to a reduced environmental impact and lower production costs.
– My licentiate thesis is about industrial waste and what we do with it. I have investigated the management of waste to see how it can be improved and how companies can climb higher in the waste hierarchy. That means preventing, reusing or recycling waste rather than burning or landfilling it, says Sasha Shahbazi.

The aim is to reduce the use of resources, to reduce waste and to achieve a better sorting of recyclable materials without negative effects on production time, output and quality. By looking at and analyzing five companies in the vehicle industry, Sasha Shahbazi has mapped routines regarding waste management and seen the possible obstacles to high material efficiency. In his licentiate thesis he suggests, among other things, methods for the clear separation and correct sorting of different types of materials.
– Mixed industrial waste is an example. It can entail low revenues or even costs for the company. One can choose, for example, to sell 50 kg of mixed waste for combustion. This yields lower revenues than sorting the waste into different categories such as paper, wood and plastic and selling it for recycling, which commands a higher price, says Sasha Shahbazi.

The results show that there is room for improvement in the manufacturing industry. There are very few comparable studies so far, and the need for more knowledge is considerable.
– Many globally operating Swedish manufacturing companies are interested. A more efficient management of industrial waste can contribute to reduced carbon dioxide emissions, less waste, reduced demand for natural resources, lower energy consumption and considerable savings on production costs, says Sasha Shahbazi.

About Sasha Shahbazi

Sasha Shahbazi moved from Tehran in Iran to Sweden for the master’s programme in product and process development at MDH. He has been living in Eskilstuna since 2010. After his licentiate thesis, he intends to continue with his research on sustainability and to implement his results in projects leading to a doctoral thesis.
– Research is a learning process, and it has worked really well here at MDH. There are many good contacts with the industry, and every year MDH gets involved in ever bigger projects, he says.