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Journal of Cleaner Production 98 (2015) 304e315

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Journal of Cleaner Production

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Waste flow mapping to improve sustainability of waste management:

a case study approach
Martin Kurdve a, d, e, *, Sasha Shahbazi a, Marcus Wendin b, Cecilia Bengtsson c,
Magnus Wiktorsson a
Ma€lardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Eskilstuna, Sweden
b €giraff, Environmental Consultants, Gothenburg, Sweden
Volvo Group, Gothenburg, Sweden
Martin Kurdve, Vejbystrand, Sweden
Swerea IVF, Production Development, Mo €lndal, Sweden

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Innovative, resource-efficient solutions and effective waste management systems capture value in
Received 16 January 2013 business and contribute to sustainability. However, due to scattered waste management responsibilities
Received in revised form in the vehicle industry and the orientation of operations management and lean tools, which mostly focus
6 June 2014
on lead-time and labour-time improvements, the requirement of a collaborative method to include
Accepted 25 June 2014
material waste efficiency in operational development is identified. The main purpose of this research is
Available online 3 July 2014
to study how operations management and environmental management can be integrated on an oper-
ational level and include the waste management supply chain. Based on a literature review of envi-
Material efficiency
ronmental and operational improvement tools and principles, the gaps and needs in current practice
Waste flow mapping were identified. A large case study implementing a waste flow mapping (WFM) method on a set of
Waste management services manufacturing sites revealed potentials in terms of reducing material losses and inefficiencies in the
Manufacturing industry handling of materials and waste. Finally, the integrated WFM method was analysed with respect to the
Environmental system analysis gaps and needs identified in the existing body of tools for operational and environmental improvement.
The method combines lean manufacturing tools, such as value stream mapping with cleaner production
and material flow cost accounting strategies. The empirical data showed that the WFM method is
adequate for current state analysis of waste material efficiency potentials, especially when multiple
organisations are involved. However, further development and specific methods are needed such as, for
example, logistics inefficiencies, root cause analysis, implementation guidelines for best practice and
systems for performance monitoring of actors.
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction the operational strategies of manufacturing companies (Allwood

et al., 2011). To meet the challenges of sustainability, environ-
1.1. Background mental management standards such as ISO 14001 have supported
companies focussing on environmental performance improvements,
In manufacturing there are several production steps where especially regarding material waste (Zackrisson et al., 2000); in
sustainability (UN, 1987) has increasingly come into focus in terms addition, various sustainable management norms, visions and di-
of less use of resources including energy, chemicals and water, and rections such as natural capitalism, ecological step, and Factor 10
lower generation of waste and emissions to air and water. With have been introduced by various authors. The World Economic
increasing demands on material and upcoming shortages of re- Forum (2012) still identifies innovative resource-efficient solu-
sources, material efficiency is becoming increasingly important for tions and business models as the most strategic option to capture
value in industry.
Today lean manufacturing is the paradigm in industrial man-
* Corresponding author. Ma €lardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and agement in the automotive industry. It focuses on elimination of
Engineering, Eskilstuna, Sweden. work losses, particularly any human activity that absorbs resources
E-mail addresses:, (M. Kurdve). but creates no value. The principles and tools of lean manufacturing
0959-6526/© 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
M. Kurdve et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 98 (2015) 304e315 305

have proven fruitful in engaging all employees in improvement To answer these questions, the remainder of the paper is
activities. Still, only few structured practical tools have been organised as follows: Section 2 presents the frame of reference
developed for both production managers and environmental describing existing tools and principles for operational improve-
engineers (Torres and Gati, 2009). For instance, value stream ment and environmental improvement, concluding with the
mapping (VSM) is a common tool in lean manufacturing used by identified gaps and criteria of an integrated lean and green
production engineers, while energy and material surveys are used improvement method. Section 3 introduces the material and
in environmental management by environmental engineers methods for the empirical data collection and analysis. Section 4
(Bergmiller and McCright, 2009). As a consequence, to minimise briefly presents the integrated waste flow mapping method
the environmental impact from production, earlier studies (EPA, applied to the set of manufacturing sites. The method was intended
2003; Florida, 1996; Herrmann et al., 2008; King and Lenox, to find economically competitive environmental improvements on
2001) have identified lean and green as a preferred approach to the team, site and multi-site levels through best practice examples
realising environmental opportunities. The overall aim of lean and to define suitable performance indicators to secure imple-
and green approaches is to include environmental principles in mentation and continuous improvements. Section 5 presents the
the lean principles and then derive appropriate tools for the direct quantitative results from the broad case study where the
challenges. In integrating environmental and lean approaches, it method was applied to indicate potential in terms of material losses
is not only essential to analyse the inputeoutput flow of energy and inefficiencies in the handling of materials and waste. Finally,
and materials but also to visualise the current state and the Section 6 discusses the qualitative methodological character of
improvement potentials to involve all people (Bergmiller and applying a method integrating operational and environmental
McCright, 2009; Ho €ckerdal, 2012). improvement on this large set of manufacturing sites. This meth-
This paper focuses on the waste management part of operations odological analysis and discussion identifies potentials and existing
management. The importance of the end-of-life phase from an gaps in the method, in contrast to the requirements in Section 2.
environmental point of view has been shown in several studies
(Lundqvist et al., 2004; Zackrisson et al., 2000), and the economic 2. Frame of reference: tools and principles employed for lean
potential of improving material efficiency by climbing the waste manufacturing and environmental analysis
hierarchy has been demonstrated (e.g., Tang and Yeoh, 2008). Even
effective and environmentally aware companies have opportunities Since the 1990s, operations management research and practice
to improve waste management (Halme et al., 2007), mostly because has had a strong focus on lean manufacturing (Jayaram et al., 2010;
waste management often involves several actors and staff from Rother, 2010). The focus has shifted from utilisation of equipment
various organisations, making it difficult to manage. A specific and labour to reducing lead time and non-value-adding work
character of waste management improvement tools is thus to (Modig and Åhlstro € m, 2012). Since then it has been debated
support waste management service supplier development. A major whether lean is also green (Dües et al., 2013), and in many respects
driver of environmental improvements in supply chains is the de- the benefits of lean production for cleaner production have been
mands imposed by customers on suppliers (Nawrocka et al., 2009), emphasised (Bergmiller and McCright, 2009), especially in
which are dependent on information sharing, mutual under- reducing non-value-adding processes and energy. However, there
standing and agreement and trust (Simpson and Power, 2005). is still a large untapped potential in increasing energy and material
efficiency and reducing losses in wasted material (Allwood et al.,
1.2. Scope and research questions 2011; World Economic Forum, 2012).
There exists a multitude of methods and tools for environmental
Based on the lack of tools for combined operations and envi- management purposes (Lindahl, 2005) such as cleaner production
ronmental improvement, the complexity in waste management approaches (Lebersorger, 2008) and material flow cost accounting
improvement and the scarcity of larger case studies on lean and (Allen et al., 2009; Jasch, 2003), although these are not prescribed
green improvement implementations, a case-based study on sus- in the ISO 14000 standards and thus different companies use
tainability improvement and realisation of waste management different tools. Regarding lean production, the principles and tools
values was designed. This study focuses on an analysis of the ma- are more uniform, but different interpretations of how to use them
terial waste management supply chain, especially on the interface for environmental challenges exist (Zokaei et al., 2013). This section
between waste management and production management because briefly introduces existing principles and tools used for operations
this interface is crucial to the rest of the waste management management (lean manufacturing) and environmental analysis in
process. an operational improvement context. The section concludes by
The objective of the study was to enhance the knowledge of how specifying the requirements placed on an integrated method for
operations management and environmental management can be operational and environmental improvement focussing on the
integrated on an operational level, focussing on the waste manage- material waste management supply chain.
ment supply chain. To fulfil this objective, the following research
questions were identified: 2.1. General lean principles and tools. Continuous reduction of
losses or “lean waste”
1. What are the characteristics and gaps in existing operational
improvement and environmental improvement tools and Lean production focuses on reducing “Muda”, which is inter-
principles? preted as “losses”, “waste”, “waste of time” (rather than material
2. What potential in terms of material losses and inefficiencies in waste) (Hillenbrand, 2002) or “non-value-adding activities”
the handling of materials and waste can an integrated waste (Zokaei et al., 2013). A key issue in lean philosophy is involving all
flow mapping method reveal while implemented in a broader staff in continuous improvement, where a number of tools and
empirical study? techniques are used. Successful continuous improvement (CI) de-
3. How can the integrated waste flow mapping method answer to mands that mutual trust exists between the people involved in
the gaps and needs identified in (1) by analysing the operations and that people are empowered to implement im-
existing body of tools for operational and environmental provements (Berglund et al., 2011; Moxen and Strachan, 1998). This
improvement? trust will depend on transparent information, which becomes even
306 M. Kurdve et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 98 (2015) 304e315

more important when several organisational entities are involved environmental performance is indexed based on the calculation of
(Kurdve, 2010; Stoughton and Votta, 2003). inputs (processed material, components, incoming transports,
Two fundamental principles of lean manufacturing are visual- electricity grids, water and auxiliary material) and outputs (emis-
isation and go and see e or ‘go to gemba’ (Liker, 2003; Netland, sions to water, solid waste, air emission and final product or co-
2012). To involve everyone and have people develop their work product) (Brondi et al., 2012). Structured approaches to move
in a common direction, it is important to understand what to do, businesses towards cleaner production such as environmental
how to do it and why it should be done. These fundamentals have management accounting (EMA), which connects the physical
been leading lights in the development of lean tools and techniques flows with expenditures for environmental losses (Jasch, 2003;
(Ho€ckerdal, 2012). Schaltenegger et al., 2008), and material flow cost accounting
Other lean principles, such as Just in time and Jidoka, address (MFCA), which focuses on the loss of good product connected with
efficient material flows with short lead times (Modig and Åhlstro € m, each material waste (Onishi et al., 2008). Similarly, other re-
2012; Rother, 2010) and minimal waste of time (Muda). Value searchers have mapped the general flow of material and energy as
stream map (VSM) is a tool used to find operational inefficiencies in an inputeoutput approach for different system levels and recovery
a process (Rother and Shook, 2003). A VSM can be drawn for the management systems (Hogland and Stenis, 2000; Smith and Ball,
entire supply chain, a process or a single subprocess. When ana- 2012). It has been noted that the material flow should preferably
lysing a single operation cell, the VSM analysis will be similar to a include also pollution and noise (Shen et al., 2004). As an answer to
standard operation procedure (SOP), and inefficiencies may be the demand of visualisation, the green performance map (Bellgran
visualised in “spaghetti charts” of real movements and compared et al., 2012), with categories in accordance with MFCA (Kokubu
with the SOP. The VSM can also be used in a non-detailed way to et al., 2009) and EMA, has been introduced.
analyse processes and subprocesses to visualise improvement
2.4. Methods focussing on waste management and material sorting
The conventional VSM can be further extended through envi-
ronmental or resource losses (EPA, 2007). An environmental VSM
In this study, the legal EU definition of waste (“any substance or
(E-VSM) can be used to map material use in different processes. In
object [ … ] which the holder discards or intends or is required to
E-VSM, environmental issues of a process such as energy con-
discard” (EU, 2006), is applied regarding material waste, which
sumption, waste and excess material, along with the activities,
means all non-productive output (NPO) including solid and fluid
time and information in the process including lead times and in-
waste. The optimal case is that the disposal of this NPO material
ventory, are diagnosed and mapped. Materials being processed in
should be avoided completely. However, some parts of the NPO
manufacturing constitute a large part of final product expenditures,
may still be regarded as necessary (i.e., some packaging may be
and an E-VSM analysis aims at both economic and environmental
unavoidable at the time). In this case, material efficiency is
improvements. Utilising E-VSM proved to be an effective way for
improved by ensuring that the material value in the recovered NPO
management to functionally address problems of production ma-
material is of as high a grade as possible, e.g., in reuse, material
terials (Torres and Gati, 2009).
recycling or energy recovery.
This principle for increasing material and overall operational
2.2. Improvement and analysis tools focussing on material handling
efficiency has been formulated in the waste hierarchy illustrated in
Fig. 1 (Faniran and Caban, 1993; Kurdve et al., 2011; Smith and Ball,
2012). In the waste hierarchy, it is generally assumed that, from an
Material handling expenditures influence total operation costs
environmental and business (Hillenbrand, 2002) point of view,
(Fillmore, 1981). It is important to include material handling such as
reduction of material use is better than reuse of components, which
collection, storage, transportation, container handling, sorting,
in turn is better than material recycling, which is better than energy
local treatment and waste generation (Hogland and Stenis, 2000) in
recovery treatment, deposition of waste in landfill or spreading it
the analysis of effective waste management. Material handling
out in the environment, which is also in line with the EU waste
analysis (MHA) (Muther et al., 1994) is one visual tool for analysing
hierarchy (EU, 2006). The most desirable option is, of course, to
and optimising internal and external logistics that in its simplest
prevent waste in the first place. The hierarchy is valid in most cases
form is very similar to a spaghetti chart analysis. MHA for waste
with the exception of some special cases such as when the recycling
management considers how waste handling is performed, for
and transport process requires more material and energy than what
instance loading and sorting. It also investigates tools, labour, ac-
is exploited by using virgin material (Kurdve, 2008a).
tivities, costs and mechanical plants (Shen et al., 2004). Waste
The importance of simple tools for visualising geographical
material handling should embrace characterisation of wastes, i.e.,
location has been identified (Hillenbrand, 2002; Shen et al., 2004;
physical, chemical, biological and toxicological characterisation, as
Toth, 2003). One such tool for working with environmental as-
well as categorisation to identify possible risks and establish a
pects is eco-mapping described by The International Network for
suitable material handling system (Hogland and Stenis, 2000). In a
further developed material handling analysis, the reverse logistics
concept can be introduced (Dowlatshahi, 2000).

2.3. Input/output-based analysis methods for environmental


Environmental management uses an inputeoutput approach for

analysing the environmental aspects of operations (Zackrisson et al.,
2000), and a number of tools exist to study the inputeoutput balance.
Two examples are the green system boundary analysis with
input in the form of raw material, energy and water and output in
the form of waste or product (gas, liquid or solid) (Zokaei et al., Fig. 1. The waste hierarchy (Kurdve et al., 2011, modified from Faniran and Caban,
2013) and the inputeoutput flow assessment, where facility 1993).
M. Kurdve et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 98 (2015) 304e315 307

Environmental Management (INEM) (Engel, 2002). Eco-mapping between the actors may influence performance. The current
comprises several types of environmental aspects but can analyse methods of operational improvement or environmental manage-
waste generation and material waste handling activities. It is ment rarely consider the complex supply chain character of waste
widely used in a variety of applications to identify and visualise the management.
geographical points where different waste management operations In conclusion, by analysing the general gaps in current methods
are conducted (Shen et al., 2004; Zorpas, 2010). of operational improvement and environmental management
To analyse the content and composition of waste material, waste applicable to waste management, the following critical improve-
sorting is an important tool for assessment and system analysis of ment areas have been defined:
industrial waste management (Hogland and Stenis, 2000; Shen
et al., 2004). It aims to categorise waste material to find opportu-  A method characterised by improvement and empowerment
nities for better materials management (Allen et al., 2009). It is should emphasise collaboration, mutual understanding, easy
recommended (for example, in construction) to sort the (con- learning and application.
struction) wastes into different categories, such as materials,  A method integrating environmental management into an
packaging materials, wood, concrete, asphalt, garbage and sanitary improvement system should be based on lean principles of
waste, scrap metal products, rubber, plastic and glass (Spivey, 1974). visualisation and root cause analysis and be harmonised with
In addition, according to Shen et al. (2004), waste classification is ISO 14001.
one of three main approaches in managing (construction) waste.  A method applicable to waste management needs to consider
For each waste fraction, quality criteria are set and during the the extended supply chain, the reversed flow of goods and
composition analysis, deviations from those criteria are identified, services involved and the allocation of responsibility.
first deviations regarding non-wanted materials in the fraction and
then materials that could have been discarded as another waste 3. Materials and method
fraction with higher material quality (and usually lower cost or
higher payment). Apart from identifying gaps in the current methods presented in
Section 2, the research questions concerned what potential in
2.5. Gaps in using current methods for waste management terms of material losses and inefficiencies in the handling of ma-
improvement terials and waste an integrated waste flow mapping method can
reveal and how this method can answer the identified methodo-
Based on this brief literature overview of tools and methods for logical gaps and needs.
operational and environmental analysis used in waste manage- To address these questions, an integrated waste flow mapping
ment, a number of gaps can be formulated regarding using these (WFM) method was used in a multi-site case study. The case study
methods for waste management improvement. examined the wasted material flows, costs, material efficiency and
To combine tools and techniques into effective and useful operational efficiency in the waste management system at 16
methods, the users of the method and the context in which it will production sites. The method was designed to enable efficient
be used has to be considered (Lindahl, 2005). This means that the mapping and analysis with limited resources and time on site.
criteria that will determine if the method is used as intended have The study was performed partly as action research in which the
to be in place. In general, the method should support collaboration, researchers participated with the general purpose of improving the
promote easy learning, be time efficient and support systematic organisation's practice. Three of the authors participated, serving as
work procedures (Norell Bergendahl, 1992). Collaboration, coop- project leader, active consultant and process owner. The aim, as in
eration and sharing of information and resources increase mutual all action research, has been to solve a practical problem as well as
understanding of responsibilities and contribute to a learning to contribute to science (Coghlan and Brannick, 2005), in this case
organisation. Collaboration has a positive effect on interdepart- to improve waste management practice and material management
mental relations and aids performance improvement (Ellinger in operations as well as to increase operative knowledge and
et al., 2000). Current environmentally focused methods are in experience from method implementation in general.
most cases complex methods requiring expert knowledge of envi-
ronment management. 3.1. Case studies
For environmental work in the automotive industry in Sweden,
previous studies have shown that methods benefit from being The research was based on studies from two companies. After a
based on lean principles, harmonising with ISO 14001, supporting pre-study at the Concentric AB (formerly Haldex) assembly plant in
proactivity, delivering a structured work practice and enabling Sweden performed in 2010, a larger multi-site case study was
performance measurements (Ho € ckerdal, 2012). In the development performed in 2010 and 2011 on all 16 Swedish sites of the Volvo
of other green lean tools, it has been clear that ‘visualisation’ and Group, a leading manufacturer of trucks, buses, construction
‘comprehensibility’ are important characteristics (Romvall et al., equipment and drive systems for marine and industrial applica-
2011), and in a pre-study of the waste flow mapping develop- tions and one of Sweden's largest employers. The multi-site map-
ment, ‘systematic’, ‘hands-on’, and ‘quick’ were also identified as ping project focused on waste management and procurement of
critical features (Kurdve et al., 2011). The integration of lean waste management services, where most sites had to be mapped in
improvement methods and environmental analysis methods is, as a maximum of two days.
many authors note, rarely achieved. The approach requires knowledge of material and waste stan-
Due to the involvement of many actors in waste management, dards. The specific characteristics of the site level analysis included
the supplierecustomer relationship has to be analysed. Experience overall analysis of the waste fraction volumes and the costs of sub-
from chemical management services and other product service segments of waste fractions. Performance measurements were
systems (PSS)(Kurdve, 2008b; Mont, 2004; Tukker and Tischner, included to compare the results with best practices of the waste
2006) shows that to align initiatives and obtain efficient use of management subprocesses, such as internal handling and owner-
material and services, the products or material, the services involved, ship of operations, together with the potential to improve sorting
the financial incentives and the allocation of responsibility must and minimise costs. The site analysis was finally used on the multi-
be considered. Further, the process knowledge and mutual trust site level by finding best practice performance that could be used
308 M. Kurdve et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 98 (2015) 304e315

for potential quick wins. The multi-site analysis also resulted in system was divided into subprocesses in the value stream of the
recommendations for the continuous improvement and develop- waste material, where the material value chain was followed
ment of waste management services; this, however, extends outside together with the information flow. Before the on-site analysis, data
the scope of this paper. Regarding prevention of waste generation, it on volumes, costs/revenue, external services, transportation mode
was concluded that this is a complex issue involving even more ac- and final treatment were collected centrally from the environmental
tors, such as suppliers of incoming material and purchasers, and adds management system (EMS) and waste management reports.
parameters such as logistics, quality and flexibility. This study focuses on material input and waste output. The
material output of a manufacturing process is divided into pro-
3.2. Data collection ductive output (PO), regarded as value adding, and non-productive
output (NPO), such as material residuals or material waste that is
The data collection was performed on two levels to answer the non-value-adding, as illustrated in Fig. 2. The input to these pro-
research questions. On a first level, quantitative data on the cesses can be divided into value-adding production material that
observed system's performance, characteristics and behaviour constitutes the product, and process material, which is everything
were collected as part of the waste flow mapping method. On a else needed for the manufacturing process.
second level, qualitative methodological data were collected on the The waste management process is divided into five sub-
method's functionality, characteristics and usability. processes in the material flow and two subprocesses in the infor-
For collecting the quantitative data, the production and waste mation and knowledge flow as shown in Fig. 3.
management activities in the cases were analysed as systems Data were collected on each subprocess regarding resources,
(Arbnor and Bjerke, 2008) with inputs, processes and outputs. inventories, handling and movements. Subprocess (1) at the in-
Taking a system view of waste management, involving collection, ternal collection point was mapped using eco-mapping or tables
transportation and storage operations, is an effective way to gain and layouts (see Fig. 4), including data on the number and type of
efficiency and effectiveness (Seadon, 2010). The multi-site infor- bins, fractions, man time for maintaining bins and signs, cost of
mation on the total number of containers, volumes, weights and ownership/rent and inefficiencies in the main operation due to
types of waste fractions at each site along with the procurement waste handling. In subprocess (2), the handling of material from
effort for equipment and services was collected and used as input operations to the external waste-handling contractor was mapped
for operational development regarding the waste management. The by data on man time and movement costs. In subprocess (3), the
analysis on each manufacturing site also considered the interactions layouts of containers and equipment for separation, sorting and
between system elements such as equipment, management, contractor storage were mapped, including maintenance and cost of owner-
companies, humans, environmental emissions and wastes, operation/ ship/rent. Subprocess (4) was mapped by the type and cost of
process efficiency and the economic/social impacts. external transportation off-site for each material segment. Sub-
The information collection method included on-site visits, process (5) at the disposal/final treatment operations was analysed
walkthroughs, interviews, layouts and photographs, environmental by type of disposal or recycling code, cost and location. The full life
reports and reviews of the current state of environmental and cycle assessment (LCA) data on the final treatment were not
operational compliance. Further, statistical data logs from existing available. For subprocesses (6) and (7), data on information man-
suppliers, additional environmental and economic data from each agement were collected by interviews and data records, and the
site and order system as well as data concerning external services, improvement process was documented by interviews and process
volumes, costs/revenue, transportation mode and final treatment efficiency data. Further, the efficiency of the information system
were centrally collected. Through site visits and document reviews, and improvement work was estimated based on the overall effi-
it was possible to collect sufficient information to comprehend the ciency of the process itself.
current state and characterisation of the companies' waste man-
agement activities. The statistical data concerned the volumes and 4.2. Phase 2: horizontal performance analysis e material efficiency
costs of treatment of waste fractions and costs of external services, for each segment
while environmental and economic data from each site were used
to validate and complement the supplier data. Finally, on-site visits, The most efficient way to achieve material efficiency is to reduce
interviews, layouts and photographs were used not only to verify the amount of spill and hence avoid the unnecessary use of raw
the above data but also to map and understand the internal
handling to estimate internal man time and costs as well as to
obtain an inventory of owned resources.

4. The analysis and improvement method employed: waste

flow mapping

The waste flow mapping (WFM) method was synthesised to be

used by both waste management researchers and practitioners. The
method relies on proven tools and methods to analyse the current
state and find improvement potentials with regard to material
losses and inefficiencies in the handling of materials and waste.
This section presents the framework of the three main WFM pha-
ses, followed by a procedure on how to perform the mapping in

4.1. Phase 1: mapping of waste generation and fractions

The waste management process was studied with a value stream Fig. 2. Green performance map with a focus on material (modified from Bellgran et al.,
mapping approach in a non-detailed way. The waste management 2012).
M. Kurdve et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 98 (2015) 304e315 309

waste. Hence the approach will also include moving the non-
productive output material (as shown in Fig. 2) or material waste
to higher stages in the waste hierarchy.
The operations examined in the case studies generated over 150
distinguishable waste fractions. To understand the material flows
and set relevant KPIs for improvements, the study separated the
waste types into five main segments:

 Combustible material
 Inert material
 Fluid waste
 Other hazardous waste

The number of segments chosen depends on the industrial op-

erations and the different materials used.
For each studied segment of waste, except Other hazardous
waste, one or several of the fractions could be considered as a
“mixed” fraction (with less value and quality than a “pure” or
“sorted” fraction in the same segment). In general, there is a higher
cost associated with the mixed waste fractions compared to the
pure ones that often regain a larger portion of the original material
value. The value differences correspond to the cost of separating or
Fig. 3. Waste management with seven generic subprocesses. sorting valuable material from the mix. For hazardous waste, legal
compliance requires separate flows for certain fractions, with heavy
fines for non-compliance.
material. Still, when material ends up as waste, the environmental The study resulted in a number of performance and monitoring
impact is generally reduced if the final treatment is higher up in the indicators used to control the waste management process. The
waste hierarchy. The five-step waste hierarchy approach, Fig. 1, main one, material efficiency, can be calculated with the following
(Faniran and Caban, 1993; Kurdve, 2008a) was used to grade formula as a valid approximation (Kurdve, 2008a). However, the
different types of disposal and recovery operations for material water content in fluids may cause problems.

Fig. 4. Example of an eco-map of waste generation points.

310 M. Kurdve et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 98 (2015) 304e315

Table 2
Material efficiency ð%Þ ¼ product weight=incoming Sub process performance measurements.

Bins Internal Collection External Final treatment

material weighte
handling points transportation

¼ product weight=ðwaste weightþ Service #(bins)/ Man h/ #(containers)/ #(trucks)/ W(recycled)/W(sum)

efficiency W(waste W W(waste in W(waste (sum) & W
product weightÞ ðKurdve; 2008aÞ in bins) containers) transported) (incinerated)/W (sum)
Cost C (bins)/ C (man-h)/ C (equipment)/ C(transports)/ C(treatment)/W (sum)
To control and facilitate operations management, this research efficiency W(waste W W(waste in W(waste
has concluded a need for measurements and monitoring of the in bins) equipment) transported)
Overall effectiveness
actual waste and services included in the waste management
C (bins)/P C (man- C (equipment)/P C(trucks)/ C(treatment)/P
process. First, there are legal and EMS standard requirements for
h)/P W(waste
monitoring of total volumes of hazardous and non-hazardous transported)
waste as well as the total (external) cost for handling of these.
Second, the plants usually index these per produced unit (P) by
calculating the weight of hazardous and non-hazardous material 5. Identified potential in waste management by applying the
per produced unit (ton/#), as well as the total waste cost per pro- WFM
duced unit (SEK/#).
However, the study revealed that although the overall above Applying the waste flow mapping method to a large set of
measurements are important, performance should also be moni- manufacturing sites resulted in numerous outcomes concerning
tored for each segment separately as shown in Table 1 to specify the waste management improvement in general and case-specific im-
full potential of improvements. In addition to the weight and cost provements. This section notes an excerpt from the generic waste
per produced unit, the average cost (or revenue) per ton for sorted management findings to answer the research question ‘What po-
and for mixed waste as well as the sorting rate in each of the seg- tential in terms of material losses and inefficiencies in the handling of
ments should be monitored. materials and waste can an integrated waste flow mapping method
reveal, while implemented in a broader empirical study?’.
4.3. Phase 3: vertical analysis of the waste management process
efficiency in each subprocess 5.1. Waste flows

When trying to make the overall operation as lean as possible, The multi-site case study resulted in a vast amount of detailed
the focus is on minimising the use and handling of non-value data and photos on the waste management in the case company
adding (NVA) and non-productive output (NPO) material. In and the waste service supply chain. Fig. 6 shows the overall picture
practical improvement work, these different inefficiencies are of the amount of waste in the five segments presented as per-
addressed simultaneously. First, the overall efficiency is ana- centage by weight. Inert material is of less importance in this case,
lysed, then the subprocess efficiency. To evaluate the services and metals could have been further divided into two or more
supplied internally or externally to each subprocess, certain subcategories to refine the results.
performance measures for each of the services were used, as
illustrated in Table 2. These should reflect the effectiveness and 5.2. Overall waste management performance
quality of the service supplied. However, the subprocess mea-
surements are subordinated to the overall performance mea- The performance measurements of the different plants, with
sures to avoid suboptimisation. One example is that if only one regard to the sorting rate and cost or revenue of the waste fraction
large bin is used for all types of waste, the efficiency measure for for each segment as described in Table 1, were used to find potential
bins is good but the costs of final treatment and sorting, as well as improvements for each segment in the overall waste management
internal transportation, will give a non-optimal result. Further, process. Because the plants had historical data for sorting rate and
development of each subprocess performance measurement is average price, the improvement work could be evaluated. Fig. 7
recommended. shows the minimum, maximum and average sorting rate for non-
For plants operating the waste management with their own hazardous waste (only plants with more than 10 tons/year
staff, the service efficiency and overall effectiveness were the most included). It shows clearly that some plants have a great
useful measurements. When the service was provided by a sup-
plier, the cost efficiency was the most relevant measure for the
supplier delivery.

4.4. Implementing the waste flow mapping (WFM) method

The WFM method can be implemented in a seven-step proce-

dure, presented in Fig. 5:

Table 1
Proposed additional segment performance measurement.

Proposed segment indices Calculation Unit

Sorting rate W (sorted)/W (segment total) (%)

Weight per produced unit W (segment total)/P (ton/#)
Average segment treatment cost C (segment total)/W (segment (SEK/ton) Fig. 5. The waste flow mapping (WFM) method implemented in seven steps.
M. Kurdve et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 98 (2015) 304e315 311

costs. Because savings in final treatment often depend on the initial

sorting of the waste, these results indicate that savings may be
achieved by working out better solutions for sorting in bins at the
workplace. Aggregated data from the waste management process
in the case study are shown in Fig. 11.
Potential waste management process improvements at the
plant level were found in all five subprocesses:

 underused bins
 lack of bins for some waste fractions
 lack of and poor quality of signs and instructions
 inefficiencies in handling and internal logistics
 poor quality of information management
 container and equipment inefficiency
 inefficiencies and unnecessary costs of external transports
 inefficiencies in choice of final treatment

Fig. 6. Waste volumes in different segments. For all of these, best practice examples were found that could be
used as examples and goals for other sites.
The improvement process was analysed from a qualitative point
improvement potential, for example regarding metal sorting rate of view. In general, the improvement work would have benefited
where the output quality of scrap metal can be increased if mixed from better information support with performance data on the
metal is collected as separate metal fractions. production department level. Several inefficiencies could be related
The cost of each incoming material was not generally available. to loss and/or delay of information, indicating an inadequate
This means that the material loss cost in the waste management interface between waste management and operations manage-
could not accurately be calculated. However, to illustrate how large ment. Although proper LCA data were not always available, the
the cost is, the study included three examples, shown in Figs. 8e10. economic potentials were found to coincide with environmental
For fluids, the calculations become somewhat more complex due to improvement potentials. For example, shortening transports showed
water content. both economic and environmental potential benefits, and the po-
There are several examples where material recycling is observed tential of sending metals as higher quality grade gave in general
as a step closer to the reduction of unnecessary waste of the ma- economic as well as environmental potential improvements.
terial, thereby saving money. For example, at one plant, the
chemical supplier operates the process fluids and handles the 5.4. Best practice comparisons
waste fluid management in a business model aimed at reducing
volumes and costs of chemicals and waste (Kurdve, 2010). The multi-site mapping enabled identification of best practices
for different segments and for different subprocesses. Other plants
5.3. Subprocess analysis can be compared with the best practice plants to demonstrate
achievable results for that segment.
The costs in the five main subprocesses were analysed, espe- Because the majority of costs (or loss of value) were connected
cially the costs of subprocesses and equipment supplied by external to the final step of the waste management process, the treatment
suppliers. It appeared that the majority of costs are generated in the cost was used to find the best management practice. By analysing
final treatment processes and transport. With regard to external each plant with regard to sorting rate and average treatment cost
supplier costs, the treatment process was almost half the cost and for each segment, best practice was identified.
transport was a third. Including internal costs shows that internal One example of best practice comparison in the case study was a
handling also results in large costs. The main saving potentials are cost comparison of two sites, A and B, similar in size and waste
in reducing these costs. Furthermore, the cost of buying or renting structure but with wastes managed in different ways. Site B had
bins and maintaining these is very low in comparison with other worked with focused improvement around waste handling on the
operator level and had invested in smaller bins for sorted material
at each workplace as well as team-level revisions of performance.
The results from the waste mapping showed that the better sorting
rate had led to significantly lower cost for combustible waste. Site B
sorted ten per cent more of the combustible waste into paper and
plastic, and a couple of extra metal fractions led to higher income
for metals. The extra investment in bins and internal logistics did
not cost more than the gain because the subprocesses had been
optimised when the process changed. Site A could benefit from the
experiences of site B and find suitable targets for their waste
management process.

5.5. Exploiting the potential in waste management by applying


A general analysis of the overall results shows that major cost

reductions can come from changes in the handling and treatment
Fig. 7. Sorting rate for non-hazardous waste. of hazardous waste from process fluids. However, this often
312 M. Kurdve et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 98 (2015) 304e315

Fig. 8. Potential for increased revenue and reduced costs by sorting metal scrap.

Fig. 9. Potential for increased revenue and reduced costs by sorting plastics.

involves investment in equipment. Improved sorting and quality potential material inefficiencies in waste management were
management of scrap metals had a great potential to increase in- determined by using an integrated waste flow mapping method in
come. Recycling of combustible waste (mainly from packaging a case study with a broad set of empirical data (Sections 4 and 5). In
material) is a way of turning costs into income by very simple this section, the integrated waste flow mapping method as a so-
means. lution to the problem of the gaps in the existing body of tools for
operational and environmental improvement is discussed.
6. Discussion and conclusion
6.1. Sustainable manufacturing strategies
Based on the literature review, characteristics and gaps in
existing operational improvement and environmental improve- To analyse the criteria and requirements of current methods, an
ment tools and principles were identified (Section 2). In addition, effort was made to cover as many strategic and operational factors

Fig. 10. Potential in process fluids.

M. Kurdve et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 98 (2015) 304e315 313

Fig. 11. Overall waste management process data for the five main subprocesses.

as possible from reverse logistics systems (Dowlatshahi, 2000). level due to data availability, practicability, technical feasibility and
Further, sustainable concepts, including cleaner production, eco-ef- communication. Although it supports the identification of oppor-
ficiency, material flow cost accounting (MFCA) and environmental tunities at the high end of the waste hierarchy, other approaches
management accounting (EMA), were taken into consideration to are needed to support redesign and material substitution.
cover different aspects. The tools and principles included address the
analysis of materials, movements, related costs, information, reports 6.2. Lean and green characteristics
and methods (Fillmore, 1981), which are also in line with the chosen
system approach for this study (Arbnor and Bjerke, 2008). The majority of manufacturing companies in Sweden are
From the brief presentation of principles and tools in Section 2, familiar with lean principles and have to some extent created their
it is clear that the scope of waste management and material effi- production systems based on the Toyota Production System and the
ciency is wide. A variety of tools and methods have been created in elimination of the seven ‘muda’ (Netland, 2012; Kurdve et al., 2012).
academia and industry, often overlapping in goals and suggestions Because a lean approach focuses on waste of time rather than on
(Lilja, 2009). Although all related concepts aim for sustainability, waste of material, material efficiency and waste management are
the differences between concepts are evident (Abdul Rashid et al., often neglected. However, an applied lean approach on residual
2008). For example, cleaner production and eco-efficiency do not material flows and waste management has previously proven
focus on generated waste (Gravitis, 2007; Gumbo et al., 2003), and fruitful in healthcare and construction (Fredriksson and Ho €glund,
resource efficiency and material efficiency do not focus on toxicity 2012; Lindskog and Larsson, 2012).
and hazardousness of wasted material (Abdul Rashid et al., 2008). Minimising non-value-adding activities and material use at the
Eco-efficiency is based on economic efficiencies, which in turn have source is fundamental to the WFM method presented. Integration
environmental advantages, and as a result it can cause a “rebound of lean and waste management activities by focussing on visual-
effect” (Gravitis, 2007). The zero waste and closed-loop principles isation, systematic problem solving and communication not only
address waste prevention but have limitations in managing improves collaboration and interdepartmental relations but also
generated waste (Curran and Williams, 2012). In resource efficiency covers scattered waste management responsibilities.
and eco-efficiency, reducing the usage of material and resources is One complexity in waste management is the multitude of
considered but not the impact of each fraction (Rashid and Evans, stakeholders and the numerous steps in the waste handling
2010). Reverse logistics can satisfy several economic incentives by process. This implies the importance of synchronising targets,
identifying deficiencies in manufacturing operations, but it is responsibilities and performance measures. However, from the pre-
usually time-consuming and requires a high level of management study it was concluded that it is complicated to include component
(Dowlatshahi, 2000). Likewise, sustainability concepts such as suppliers, and these prevention opportunities are more efficiently
MFCA and EMA solely lack support of key lean features such as treated in separate projects (Kurdve et al., 2011). The WFM may
visualisation, employee involvement, collaboration and under- help direct efforts, but then eco-design of packaging and other
standing. They are mainly based on calculation, quantitative supplied materials is also needed. Further, introduction of new
approach and accounting (Higashida et al., 2013), whereas an easy, business models such as product service systems may be a step
effective and applicable approach should rely on both the EMA/ forward to align actor incentives (Kurdve, 2008b; Mont, 2004).
MFCA concepts and lean principles and tools. Moreover, EMA and The WFM approach has proven to support analysis and
MFCA have conflicts with conventional management mind-set, continuous improvement work for the waste management process.
production improvement activities and production systems It was perceived to be time-efficient, easy and understandable for
(Kokubu and Kitada, 2012). Using EMA and MFCA also requires the practitioners. However, there were certain issues that had to be
complex calculations (Kokubu and JMA Consultants, 2007), which omitted or simplified. For example, the identification of logistics
may be challenging to implement among employees and might inefficiencies was not made in detail, and although inefficiencies
cause a conflict between environmental and economic objectives. were found, the time for root cause analysis was lacking. ‘5 Whys’
As a result, it is clear that a combination of several sustainable has been suggested as a simple method for finding most of the root
approaches is needed to address material efficiency and waste causes (Lindskog and Larsson, 2012).
management efficiency in manufacturing. The WFM approach in- In general, the value of the potential improvements found in the
corporates both proactive and reactive measures, although the cases was worth more than ten times the cost of time spent on
main focus can be argued to be reactive on the quality of recycling. mapping, which is in line with other operational management
The WFM appears to be useful for implementation at the company initiatives.
314 M. Kurdve et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 98 (2015) 304e315

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