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How to cut costs and make your warehouse environmentally-friendly

When you run a busy warehouse, it’s important that you keep an eye on the environmental impact your production processes are having. Here, Kelly Friel from industrial tool and equipment specialist Zoro explains what you can be doing to reduce your carbon footprint and cut your warehouse costs.

Keeping your costs down can be a difficult feat for any business, especially when you own busy warehouses that are always buzzing with productivity. And, when things get hectic, it’s possible for standards to slip, but doing this can have a costly effect for both your business and the environment.

With a report from Defra showing that household recycling rates have risen over recent years, it’s clear that consumers are becoming more aware of their environmental impact and so it’s time for businesses to follow suit. Here, I will be showing you how you can do just that to benefit both your company and the planet.

Re-use and recycle materials
One of the simplest ways of reducing your environmental impact is to ensure your warehouse has a recycling system in place. Not only will doing this mean you are sending less to landfill on the whole, but it can also help you to cut costs considerably. Many businesses will be subject to the standard rate of landfill tax which is £91.35 per tonne, so keep your costs down by placing bins for recyclable materials around your warehouse. There should be bins for glass, paper, cardboard, plastic and any other recyclable material you frequently use. It may even be a good idea to invest in a recycling machine for your business to cut down on the emissions from lorries that would be transporting it.

Where possible, try to re-use the materials you would otherwise throw. For example, if you have excess cardboard scraps lying around, you can transform these into packaging noodles by using a recycling machine.

Review your lighting and heating
All warehouse owners will have experienced the high overhead costs associated with running a business like this, with the average electricity bill for UK businesses standing at over £3,000 per year (Businessenergy.com). So, if you find your annual totals hard to digest, it could be time to look at making some changes. Energy-efficient lightbulbs could slash your electricity bills, while putting the heating on a timer can ensure you aren’t overusing your resources. Installing high-volume, low-speed fans can also help to regulate the temperature in your warehouse and cut your costs.

If your staff tend to leave machinery and lights on, consider putting up signs to remind them to switch everything off that’s not in use. Reducing the amount of energy your warehouse uses decreases power plant emissions and will save you money, too.

Invest in energy-efficient machinery
Machinery can be the key culprit in guzzling your electricity, but when you’ve got a business to run and orders to fulfil it’s not possible to stop using these altogether. Instead, why not consider looking for machinery that will do the same job at a lower cost? These newer models will use less energy to power up and complete the job. Conveyors, fridges, freezers and cooling systems are all typically very energy intensive, but there are energy-efficient alternatives for all of these, so make sure you do your research around these.

If you’re struggling to pinpoint the exact area you’re using the most electricity in, getting an audit done by a professional will clearly show you where there is room for improvement.

More and more people are becoming concerned with their environmental impact, so it’s important that businesses are able to show they’re taking measures to reduce this, too. Make the switch to eco-friendly by implementing my top tips and watch your bills reduce. Has your warehouse made the switch to being eco-friendly yet?

By Kelly Friel

Kelly Friel is the Digital Product Manager at online tools and equipment retailer Zoro. She has been working in the same sector for almost 20 years and has been in her current role with Zoro since 2016.

Kelly is enthusiastic about the future of the industry and is keen to encourage change towards a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly world.

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