With growing concerns over the state of the environment, the idea of “going green” has become a serious value in modern business practices. Far more business owners are seeing the many benefits in creating an eco-friendlier business through reducing their utility bills and carbon footprint, and increasing overall sustainability. Many warehouses in the industrial world are switching over to new practices that allow them to adapt to this method of change. This blog will look further at the ways to make your warehouse eco-friendlier.
Consider What Can Be Recycled and Reused
It is almost a given that warehouses have many different types of materials being used throughout their facilities. So many businesses have gotten into the bad habit of just putting everything into the trash, regardless of if it’s recyclable or not. So many of these materials are not only recyclable, but they are potentially reusable in the warehouse. Some of the most common recyclable materials are paper and cardboard. These two materials alone actually make up the majority of the waste that comes from warehouses. This is where utilizing a recycling program can be helpful. Any materials that are recyclable should be stored in the proper areas so they can be picked up by a local program. Set up recycling bins in multiple areas throughout the facility to ensure that every recyclable material gets disposed of properly. Some materials such as packing-peanuts, bubble-wrap, and reusable wooden pallets should be kept in designated areas so they can be easily accessed for future use. This will help make resources more sustainable. Wooden pallets are one of the leading reusable items found in warehouses. Pallets can also be shipped out or you can use a pallet pickup to have them recycled and refurbished. Once they have been refurbished, you can have the pallets sent back. This will also save on the expense of new pallets while helping to create a more sustainable industry.
Have Your Warehouse Go Paperless
While paper is mentioned above as a common material in warehouses that should be recycled, there is also the option of eliminating the use of it altogether. There are many businesses that still use large amounts of paper, even though there is a vast amount of computer technology to store information. Choosing to go paperless is another significant step towards making the industry more sustainable. It also creates a more sustainable business model for your warehouse. Consider looking at a paperless order management system, which will also include paperless POs and packing slips. Additional ways to go paperless include using online accounts for customers and communicating with vendors about receiving your invoices through email and credits digitally. Another technology that has become incredibly resourceful is smart technology. There are smart programs that have been designed to mange scheduling, pick lists, inventory, and similar documents all digitally.
Reuse and Reduce Your Packaging
Another one of the great ways to make your warehouse eco-friendlier is to reduce your packaging use. One of the first helpful things about cutting down on packaging is it will cut the amount of waste generated by your warehouse. There are even material options for packaging that are biodegradable. Materials worth avoiding include synthetic plastics because, while they can be put in the garbage, they will actually take hundreds of years to breakdown in a landfill. The special biodegradable materials can help to reduce your carbon footprint, as they are compostable. You can also contact your vendors and work out a plan to reduce the amount of packaging materials being used. Instill this as a culture within your warehouse employees. You should give them specific guidelines to follow when they are getting orders ready at packaging stations, such as not to exceed a certain amount of material being used. There are also options like shelf-ready packaging. These are special shipping containers that are easily opened to shelve your product immediately after they have arrived.
Consider Better Electric and Energy Usage
Taking the time to evaluate lighting in your warehouse is another important part of making your warehouse into an eco-friendlier work environment. Choosing to switch over from old light bulbs to LED lighting is a much more efficient option. While it is true that LED light bulbs tend to be a bit more expensive, they will last much longer, and they use far less energy. You will see the expense of your electric bill drop significantly, while reducing your impact on the environment. Another area of your warehouse operations that can be used to make better use of energy is any electrical equipment. If you have equipment that is starting to wear down or needs replacing, choose to upgrade to more energy-efficient products. When you are looking at different equipment options, consider things like gallons per hour, miles per gallon, and the amount of wattage used by the equipment. Also, do not forget to keep up on proper maintenance for your machinery. When equipment maintenance is neglected, machinery can start to use up more energy and lose efficiency. Simply checking over all your equipment on a monthly basis can help ensure that your equipment is getting full usage. This will help to decrease the amount of waste generated by not getting rid of equipment that is still usable.
Remember To Build Up and Not Out
Your warehouse is likely to expand over the years. You might find your business carrying more product in order to keep up with competition. This means you will be needing more space. Rather than having to build out and expand your property, look into practices and equipment that make it possible to build upward rather than outward. Using a building plan to build up will allow you to increase your inventory just as much as you could from expanding it outward. Building upward will also prevent you from having to relocate to a new location that provides more space. Choosing to build upward is a brilliant method that allows you to maximize the space you already have.
If you’re in need of a reliable and innovative full-service logistics provider, contact First Alliance Logistics Management today! We’re more than happy to answer your questions and provide you with additional information regarding our services.