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Environmentally Friendly Warehousing: A Complete Guide for Businesses

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Over 50% of consumers consider sustainability when buying a product! So, now is a great time to invest in making your warehouse environmentally friendly.

But it may seem like a big task, and you might not know where to begin! This article reviews the key elements you need, from warehouse design and packaging to energy efficiency and the steps to create a green supply chain!

Well-Designed Warehouses 

Many warehouses collect information about their operations to improve supply chain management. Working in a data-driven way makes warehouses more productive and environmentally friendly. 

If you are building a warehouse, designing and planning your storage reduces the building footprint. It can also highlight items that need grouping to reduce using the forklift. One way you can be more efficient with space is by installing mezzanine floors. This means you are making the most of the vertical space available.

Environmentally Friendly Shipping Methods

Shipping is one of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution. One solution is intermodal shipping. This is where you use multiple forms of transport to move shipments. 

Although it may increase delivery times, it is worth the switch. This form of transportation is more environmentally friendly than long haul shipments. It is also a lot more cost-efficient, saving companies, on average, more than $100,000 per year.  

Update Your Packaging

Prioritising sustainable packaging is an important step in an environmentally friendly supply chain. There are several ways you can go about this, depending on the products you are shipping. 

You can ship things using smaller packages. This uses less material and means you can load supply vehicles more efficiently. However, make sure you try different sizes and positions when packaging. That way, you don’t compromise the integrity of the goods.  

Using recycled plastics and corrugated cardboard are great affordable options. There are also big advancements in plant-based packaging that you can compost.

Order samples of packaging before buying in bulk. That way, you can see how durable they are and if they suit your needs well.

Try to reduce over-packaging and, if possible, consolidate the items to use fewer boxes. In addition, you can promote recycling to your customers by marking what is recyclable by them at home.  

If you need to ship liquid or food, try using Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs). These tanks are better for the environment because they are sanitisable and reusable. This replaces using many disposable smaller barrels. 

Use Electric Forklifts

As part of your green warehousing system, consider changing to electric forklifts. Traditional forklifts use propane or diesel fuel. This means they are not environmentally friendly and are more expensive to run.

Electric forklifts are more energy-efficient, and they don’t release any emissions. This makes them ideal if you need to work in a clean space such as food or pharmaceutical distribution

Electric forklifts tend to need less maintenance, so they are better for your budget! They are also quieter, reducing noise pollution both inside and outside your warehouse. 

Make Your Warehouse Energy Efficient

Even small warehouses can use a significant amount of energy. From climate control to water and electricity, this has a huge environmental impact. As a result, more warehouses are implementing green practices to reduce costs and emissions. 

Using high-efficiency lighting such as LEDs is a great option. These types of lights use less power, and the bulbs last longer. Also, consider adding motion sensors so lights are only on when the warehouse is active.

Solar power has become a lot cheaper and more accessible over recent years. Although the upfront costs could be high, investing in solar power brings big savings in the long run. 

Using high volume, low-speed fans (HVLS) is a smart choice for efficient warehouses. This is because their large size allows them to circulate air throughout big spaces. They could help increase your energy savings by up to 30%!

Smart Waste Management

You have all heard the mantra reduce, reuse and recycle. This applies to warehouses, as there can be a lot of waste produced in commercial activities.

You can reduce the items thrown away or recycled by using reusable storage. For example, replace cardboard storage boxes with wooden or metal containers. Taking care of these and cleaning them means you can use them for many years without replacing them.  

If possible, try to reuse packaging and pallets. For example, high-quality plastic pallets are very durable and long-lasting, so they need fewer replacements. You could also re-purpose any wooden pallets you get into eco-friendly racking.  

Using a cardboard baler is a good way to improve recycling in your warehouse. These machines crush cardboard into cubes, so there is more room for other recycling. Cleaning and separating other recyclable items makes it easier for waste management collection.

Commit to Sustainability

Finally, the best way to maintain a green warehousing system is to be clear about your intentions. Set tangible goals and then outline the resources you need to achieve them. Commit to regular evaluation of your sustainability goals. With time and consistency, you are more likely to reach them.

Make sure to brief all staff on these aims and give realistic ways for them to get involved. It will also increase a sense of teamwork and pride in the workplace when you reach your targets. It feels good to be a good example of a green warehouse!

Warehouse Solutions For You!

As the demand for goods and services grows worldwide, so does the need for warehouse space. Try and put in place some of these points for a warehouse that is environmentally friendly. You’ll also enjoy greater worker efficiency and savings when you try these ideas!

If you are in need of a warehouse system update, consider Bowen Storage. They offer a range of storage and warehousing solutions tailored to your business.  

Get in touch today and join over 4000 businesses benefiting from customised warehouse design and storage! 

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