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5 Ways to an Eco-Friendly Business Transition for 2021

Yitz Lieblich
April 15, 2021

edited by Catalina Del Castillo

With the announcement of President Biden’s new infrastructure plan according to the New York Times, we are slowly but surely coming into terms that establishing eco-friendly practices is the only option to a sustainable and successful business. Global companies and customers are finally understanding the benefits of using sustainable resources from the available innovations in solar power technology, energy fuel efficient cars, and even smart packaging for less waste.

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Consumers are now, more than ever, seeking out companies that market themselves as environmentally conscious because of the negative impact on the environment and the economy.

 Going eco-friendly is not only about being corporately responsible, but it’s about doing more good than harm to the environment. It also offers businesses financial incentives from the government while increasing long-term returns on investment. It’s a healthy approach to increase consumer trust, engagement and eco-friendly behavior. 

So, what can your company do to be more eco-friendly? 

What can you do to “go green” in your warehouse?

1. Reduce
2. Reuse & Recycle
3. Upgrade Lighting
4. Energy Efficient Equipment
5. Go Paperless

 


Reduce       
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There are many ways your business can reduce waste materials in the warehouse. First, switching from traditional packing materials to products that are biodegradable. Second, reduce the amount of packaging used because less packaging cuts down on waste.  With less weight, there's higher efficiency, less shipping costs and less energy needed to move  packages.

It’s important to highlight that although it is in fact affordable to use synthetic plastics, according to the latest report from the PETI European report “The inherent economic impact due to plastic waste is also vast. Studies suggest an economic damage to the global marine ecosystems surpassing €11 billion. Western nations were suddenly confronted with vast amounts of such waste with no management strategies to deal with them. This highlights the urgent need to restructure existing recycling systems and policies on the production of plastic and its disposal. Additionally, the announcement of the Chinese ban led to a sharp fall in EU export prices for plastic waste in 2016. From over €320/t, the extra-EU export price has fallen to €244/t in 2019.

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The environmental, health and economic reasons to act are clear. Consequently, there is a growing international determination to reconsider and evaluate the use of plastics at all stages of their life-cycle. This not only includes design and manufacture, but also use, reuse, and end of life management, with a special focus on the inputs and removal of plastics from the environment. “

Taking action now and shifting into environmentally friendly practices will be a proactive approach to a sustainable and corporately responsible businesses.

 


Reuse and Recycle

Part of becoming eco-friendly is reusing items as much as possible. Warehouses can reuse many materials and it can be as simple as reusing pallets. Instead of using disposable string pallets, switch to wood or plastic pallets. While both are good choices- high quality plastic pallets are the greener option because they can be used 80-100 times thus wooden pallets can be used 15-20 times.

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Not only do these pallets last longer and are lighter but they also require less energy to move. Opting to recycle packaging sent to you by suppliers saves money and reduces the environmental impact of manufacturing. It is important to add that one of the most efficient ways to a smooth transition is not as simple as switching materials but includes well-established collaboration between internal operations and a solid marketing team. Establishing creative marketing strategies with campaigns such as customer incentives to return packaging for reuse, or a custom link/QR Code on every box with a ‘track’ its journey ad will increase your exposure and your sales.

 


Upgrade Lighting

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According to Georgia Power studies, lighting is the largest energy expense within a warehouse. One of the easiest ways to go green is to switch to LED lighting. While the initial cost is more than that of a regular light bulb, LED bulbs last longer and can reduce the power you need to keep your warehouse lit by as much as 80% over conventional options. LED solutions also require less maintenance than fluorescent options. Other options could include using sunlight as a natural light source by investing in skylights which can reduce the need for lighting and heating, and can also lead to higher employee satisfaction.

 

 

Energy Efficient Equipment

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In the same way consumers are looking for cars that are more energy efficient, warehouse managers can replace old equipment with energy efficient equipment as the need arises. Most warehouse equipment, like forklifts, run on electricity or petroleum. Whichever you choose, make sure you check gallons per hour and wattage usage before making a purchase. Keeping up with regular maintenance also extends the life of many products and reduces waste by not needing to frequently upgrade as well as charging electrical equipment during non-peak hours will also reduce energy usage and lower your electric bill.

 

Go Paperless

Going paperless may seem difficult at first since pick lists and packing slips require paper but if you can consider moving to a paperless order management system with a paperless POS and packing slips, it will not only decrease processing time but make the logistics and operations process more efficient. With the ability to change, edit, and update information faster, going paperless will allow your entire team to see live updates, decreasing error and increasing tracking accuracy.

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To eliminate the need for a printed pick list, invest in some inexpensive, easy to use, tablets that pickers can use to access their pick list. Give your customers the option to house everything digitally via an online account versus paper, and work with your vendors to receive invoices and credits digitally instead of by fax or snail mail.

SkuNexus is a fully customizable commerce operations platform that can help you create paperless pick lists reducing the amount of paper you use. This will have a huge environmental impact in the long run.

For more information on how SkuNexus can help you, click here to go green in 2021!

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