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Eco-Friendly Material Handling Solutions for Your Warehouse

Being environmentally-friendly has become somewhat of an issue throughout the material handling industry. However, with more of a focus on logistics when it comes to the packaging, handling and transportation of goods across many sectors, it’s never been more favourable for warehouse owners to transform their operations and opt for greener practices instead.

Warehouses require a significant number of resources in order to function as efficiently as possible, meaning that there are many factors involved in the process that could be made to be more eco-friendly. From changing the lightbulbs and installing skylights to reusing palettes and opting for electric or LP gas warehouse machinery, it’s never been easier for you to make greener choices throughout your site.

But why are warehouse owners looking to get on board with greener trends, how are they doing it and what can you do to transform the way in which your warehouse operates? Charnwood Lift Trucks are on hand to help.

Green trends continue to grow in the material handling industry

In this day and age, going green has to be a permanent solution for all businesses, not just those in the material handling industry. So much so, environmentally-friendly practices and products have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many companies being pressured by other businesses and, in some cases, their customers to go green.

survey was conducted to establish where companies are in terms of transitioning to eco-friendly practices. It found that, steadily, the material handling industry as a whole is starting to embrace going green, but it also found that:

  • 44% of the 368 respondents claimed that they have eco-friendly initiatives underway
  • 88% of the 368 respondents said they were looking to improve sustainability within the next year
  • Some respondents said that they were looking for more affordable options first when it came to going green, including switching the energy-saving lightbulbs

Why are warehouse owners making greener choices?

There are many reasons for why warehouse owners are looking to be more sustainable. The aforementioned study found the following:
  • 78% of the respondents said it was their social responsibility to make green choices
  • 63% said that it made their operations more efficient overall
  • 42% said their customers demanded that eco-friendly practices were taken up
According to Joel Anderson, the CEO of the International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA), the “customer is more focused on asking the question of sustainability in the supply chain”.

How are industry leaders going green?

Industry leaders are always looking for ways to be more eco-friendly and for those who have smashed their targets and goals when it comes to sustainability, they’ve found the following to be some of the most rewarding tactics available to them when it came to making greener choices:
  • Using solar power to generate electricity for the warehouse – useful when recharging electric forklifts
  • Charging equipment during off-peak hours – spreads energy usage more evenly throughout the day
  • Replacing old, inefficient machines or replacing inadequate parts and components – switch out your diesel machines for electric or LP gas alternatives
  • Opt for pallets manufactured from wood by-products – will result in lower energy and handling costs as they’re 60% lighter than traditional pallets
  • Tracking the results of being eco-friendly – creates an incentive and motivation to keep being as sustainable as possible

How to make your warehouse more environmentally-friendly

There are many ways in which your warehouse could become more environmentally-friendly, and it doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming either. Here are a few of the most popular tactics when it comes to implementing eco-friendly practices throughout the material handling industries.

Insulate where possible

Metal buildings will benefit the most from proper insulation, as without it, heat will be carried away in the winter but transferred inside the premises in the summer. Upgrading windows and doors will help to stabilise the temperature within your warehouse, but it would still be a wise investment to have the site professionally insulated. By doing this, you’ll save money on heating bills and cut the cost of running your air conditioning on particularly hot days.

Reduce water waste

Many businesses have started collecting grey water from their premises, which, once treated, can be reused to flush toilets, irrigate landscaping and more. You could also look into installing low-flowing taps and toilets, together with flush valve aerators. Commercial rain harvesting systems are also a viable option for many companies, allowing rainwater to be collected in large tanks, ready to be used again.

Also, to ensure that hot water comes out of the taps on demand, ensure the water pipes are insulated as this will save on both the water and the heating bills, as your employees won’t have to run the tap for longer than is necessary.

Invest in eco-friendly lighting options

LED lightbulbs are much brighter and considerably more energy-efficient than older, conventional bulbs, meaning you’ll also be able to light the same area with fewer bulbs. By making the switch to LED lights, you could save as much as 80% on your energy usage.

LED alternatives also have a much longer lifespan than traditional bulbs.In order to light up your premises using as little electricity as possible, look at installing skylights to get as much natural light as possible. This will also enable the sunshine to come through, therefore providing natural heating, even in the winter.

Reuse and recycle as much as possible

This is all about reducing the amount of waste you generate as a whole, but any rubbish you do produce should be recycled where possible to help be as eco-friendly as possible. Single-use packaging doesn’t need to go to landfill, do some research and see whether there are any facilities or waste management companies nearby who can take that waste away and recycle it responsibly.

You’ll also save money and resources by reusing as much as possible, even down to the pallets you choose to use. In order to encourage others to give back the pallets you distribute, implement a packaging return programme. Once those materials get back to you, you can either reuse it or recycle it appropriately.

Consider switching to green packaging

Think about using packaging that’s made from recycled materials or biodegradable products. Try to avoid using single-use packaging as this will generate unnecessary waste or even end up in landfill further down the line. By finding non-plastic packaging alternatives, you’ll massively reduce your carbon footprint as single-use plastic can be incredibly damaging to the environment.

Charnwood Lift Trucks can offer eco-friendly alternatives

Here at Charnwood Lift Trucks, we have a wide range of material handling equipment that can be used in and around your warehouse, even if you’re looking to be more sustainable. We have electric forklifts and LP gas forklifts available to help your business operations run as smoothly as possible.

As well as forklifts, we’re also able to provide reach trucks, stackers, pallet trucks, order pickers and more. If you’re in need of powerful, robust material handling equipment, then our warehouse machinery is available for hire or purchase, enabling us to meet both your budget and your requirements.

For more information about the material handling equipment we have available, get in touch with a member of our friendly, knowledgeable team today – we’re always happy to help and guide you through the options we have available so you’re provided with the perfect solution.