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The purchase of solid, liquid and gaseous raw materials can be one of the most expensive inputs for any business but managing them more efficiently will help you to lower the costs.


Making Material Savings

Using materials efficiently is all about making more with less, which can have a direct and lasting impact on your business's bottom line and reduce its environmental impact at the same time. It will also help you to minimise waste, and hence save on waste-related costs, and to improve productivity and performance.

A regular 'walk-around' on site and ongoing dialogue with your different work teams can help you to identify key sources of waste material and find the most cost-effective ways of addressing them.


Here are some straightforward ideas for improving material efficiency:

  • Review the way materials are stored, handled and processed on site and identify where and why wastes occur.
  • Review the amount of materials you use and only purchase what you actually need.
  • Consider negotiating bespoke specifications with your suppliers - for example, by asking them to adjust the size and dimensions of a material to avoid off-cuts and unnecessary waste.
  • Buy liquid and powder materials in bulk where practical to reduce packaging and residue losses.
  • Re-use packaging or containers on site.
  • Think about whether you can make your products or packaging smaller and lighter, so that they incorporate less material. This will also minimise the costs and emissions associated with distribution.
  • Use sustainably sourced or recyclable materials where possible and label your products or packaging as 'recyclable', to encourage end-users to recycle.
  • Repair broken goods where possible rather than purchasing replacements.
  • Source materials locally if possible, to minimise the environmental impact of long-distance transportation.
  • In the office: minimise the amount you print, use double-sided printing, re-use envelopes and folders and minimise the amount of cleaning products you use.