Best Practice Guides

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Cross Sector Best Practice Guidance Documents 

The following is a list of best practice guidance documents within a range of industrial sectors. Please click on a title below to view a summary before opening the document.

Cross Sector Best Practice Guidance Documents

Sector specific best practice guidance documents


Approaches to improving the environmental performance of your business

This guide provides an introduction to current approaches for improving the environmental management performances of industrial processes, products and services. This guide addresses issues such as what is environmental management, the business case, how to get started and practical supports and information sources.

Environmental Management Approaches to Improving the Environmental Performance of your Business [pdf 340kB] August2015

Good houseleeping measures for solvents

Irish industry use vast quantities of organic liquid solvents that evaporate readily at normal temperature and pressure, giving rise to volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. The solvents are generally used in dissolution, dispersal or viscosity adjustment, and may also be cleaning agents. This cross sector pollutant specific Best Practice Guide is intended to help companies save money by reducing solvent usage and, at the same time, reduce VOC emissions.

The good housekeeping measures described in this Guide are practical and affordable.  Many involve no capital expense; others require modest investment that will be quickly paid back by the savings made. Good housekeeping can be applied throughout the manufacturing cycle, from delivery, storage, on-site distribution and handling, to process use, cleaning, waste recovery and disposal.

Good Housekeeping Measures for Solvents  900kB

S.I. No. 543 of 2002 “Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds from Organic Solvents Regulations 2002

Wastewater treatment - activated sludge process

This guide is intended to provide a first check for those involved in the operation, management and monitoring of the activated sludge process to confirm that good practices are in place. In the first instance the material refers to wastewater treatment in an industrial facility, although much of it is also relevant to the activated sludge process in any context.

The nature and extent of problems that can arise in plant operation may be complex and varied and the scope of this basic guide cannot extend to the provision of comprehensive troubleshooting and problem solving advice. Where problems arise which are outside the competence of on-site personnel, expert external assistance should be promptly sought.

Wastewater Treatment - Activated Sludge Process pdf file 303kB 

Resource loss mapping

Note: This is one of two documents on loss reduction.  This current document is recommended for a company initially setting out on establishing where losses are occurring while the follow-up document (Process Loss Reduction BPGCS004) deals in more detail with how to relate losses to the manufacturing process.

To reduce the loss of resources in any business it is necessary to understand where and how it occurs, and how much it is really costing. Resource Loss Mapping encompasses all losses that impact on company’s profits and it is a visual and practical tool to analyse and manage environmental performances, particularly in small companies. By using simple mapping techniques it will be possible to ‘map out’ how the company is using resources. From this it will be possible to build up a picture of the processes and see more clearly where resources are being wasted. 

Resource Loss Mapping  303kB

Process loss reduction
This is the second document on loss reduction and this addresses in more detail how to relate losses to the manufacturing process. The Resource Loss Mapping (BPGCS003) document is recommended for a company initially setting out on establishing where losses are occurring.

Process Loss Reduction pdf file 361kB

Oil storage
These Guidelines provide advice on current Best Practice for oil storage as regards the prevention and early detection of oil leakage to the external environment. They address the issues associated with the storage of oil that would be typically used as an energy source within any industrial/commercial premises.
Many aspects of the Guidelines may be applicable to the storage of other liquids and “oils” such as bulk cooking oils  etc., which may also pose a similar risk to the environment. However the storage of many materials, e.g. highly flammable or toxic materials, would have important additional or alternative storage requirements (e.g. COMAH) to those detailed here and would need to be considered separately on a case by case basis (see BPGCS001 Good House Keeping Measures for Solvents). Equally these Guidelines are not intended to deal with fire/explosion issues or for large-scale storage at oil terminals, oil transfer stations, etc.

Oil Storage  360kB

How to obtain and effluent discharge licence
This document outlines the procedures industrial facilities with an effluent discharge will have to undergo in order to obtain an effluent discharge licence from either Irish Water or a relevant local authority. Irish Water are responsible for the issuing of effluent discharge licences for effluents discharged to sewers and local authorities are responsible for effluent discharges to waters. These notes are for guidance only and do not purport to be a legal interpretation of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts 1977 and 1990 and the Water Services Act 2007 to 2013.

How to Obtain an Effluent Discharge Licence [ pdf, 200kB] updated April 2015

Energy management

Energy can be a major cost to organisations, whatever their activities. Using energy more efficiently helps organisations save money as well as helping to conserve resources and tackle climate change. A number of organisations have integrated energy management systems to improve their energy efficiency. Under the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) all EU countries are required to use energy more efficiently at all stages of the energy chain from its production to its final consumption. The EED establishes a set of binding measures to help the EU reach its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020. Article 8 of the Directive has been transposed into Irish Law as S.I. No. 426 of 2014 European Union (Energy Efficiency) Regulations 2014.

Under the legislation large organisations (non-SME1and public body2) are required to carry out an energy audit by 5 December 2015 and every four years after that.

They can either conduct

  • Energy audits to measure total energy consumption and identify cost-effective energy efficiency recommendations


  • Become certified to ISO 50001 / ISO 14001 Under the legislation large organisations (non-SME1and public body2) are required to carry out an energy audit by 5 December 2015 and every four years after that.

1 SME means an enterprise which employs fewer than 250 employees and which has (a) an annual turnover not exceeding €50m or (b) an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43m.
2 A public body is defined in S.I 426 of 2014 as a public body with individual buildings with a total useful floor area of more than 500m2 or an annual energy spend of more than €35,000

The two approaches both offer opportunities to identify energy savings. The business decision needs to be considered – is compliance the objective or is business performance improvement?
SI 426 of 2014 requires the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to establish and maintain a national registration scheme of auditors 

SEAI provides a Business Support Centre  where you will find information on how saving energy can help cut your business costs and details on resources and financial assistance to help you make savings.

Download Best Practice Guide Energy Management Systems [pdf 224kB]

Small Change - Waste Management for Business
The 'Small Change' guide for business aims to provide practical solutions to recycling and minimising the amount of waste produced and therefore reducing costs associated with waste management.

It will give a range of useful information including:

  • How to carry out a waste review and implement an action plan
  • How to deal with a waste contractor
  • How the waste legislation applies to business
  • Learn how other businesses have implemented policies and made savings

A Guide for large Organisations to Reduce and Reuse and Recycle (pdf file3.7MB) 

Local Energy Action - EU Good Practice 2007
Each good practice has been validated by the European Commission against a set of objective criteria, and they have been chosen for their strong contribution to the promotion of energy efficiency and/or renewable energy use and for their strong possibilities of replication. The examples of good practice represent a wide variety of approaches, and all of them could be replicated elsewhere. But there are many other approaches which could be taken, and this brochure aims to stimulate thought rather than provide all the answers.
Download Local Energy Action - EU Good Practice 2007 pdf file 450kB

Metal plating finishing & coating

Metal finishing processes involve treatment of a metal work-piece in order to modify its surface properties, impart a particular attribute to the surface, or produce a decoration. Plating involves putting a coating of metal over a base metal substrate to give various desirable properties to the object. Metal coating involves the application of a paint or powder coating to a metal work-piece.

This guide is aimed at the smaller metal finishers and mainly focuses on environmental best practices that are relatively simple and straightforward to implement in an existing facility. Therefore some of the more expensive best practice options (e.g., electrodialysis to concentrate drag-out; ultrafiltration for process bath maintenance, etc.) have been omitted from this guide.

Metal Plating Finishing & Coating  590KB

Furniture manufacture
Furniture manufacture involves the assembly of materials into furniture pieces and subsequent finishing. Materials in use include wood and wood-based products such as MDF, chipboard and plywood, as well as materials like metal, foam, and plastic. This guide is aimed at the smaller furniture manufacturers and mainly focuses on best practices that are relatively simple and straightforward to implement in an existing facility.

Furniture Manufacture  351KB

Print & Packaging
he Printing and Packaging sector has come under increasing pressure from customers and the government to reduce its impact on the environment. This has lead to increased costs for waste disposal and the necessity to comply with various licensing controls. This guide details the environmental issues experienced by the printing and packaging industry and describes best practice to improve environmental performance.

Best Practice Guide for Print & Packaging  314KB

Best Practice Guidelines on the Preparation of Waste Management Plans for Construction and Demolition Projects

The purpose of these Guidelines is to promote an integrated approach to construction and demolition (C&D) waste management, throughout the duration of a project. They are designed to promote sustainable development, environmental protection and optimum use of resources. The Guidelines provide guidance on the preparation of Project Construction and Demolition Waste Management Plans for certain classes of project, which exceed specified threshold limits. The requirement for such Plans extends equally to both public and private sector developments. They provide clients, developers, designers, practitioners, contractors, sub-contractors and competent authorities with an agreed basis for determining the adequacy of C&D Waste Management Plans.

Best Practice Guidelines on the Preparation of Waste Management Plans for Construction & Demolition Projects  278KB

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