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4 environmentally friendly changes that can cut your warehouse costs

30 September 2019

Sustainability is becoming more important to consumers, with buyers wanting to know the ethics of the business before they purchase.

This includes everything from the components used to make products, to the measures taken to ensure the company is working in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. Here, Kelly Friel from Zoro shares her advice for how you can make effective environmental changes in your warehouse, as well as cut costs. 

When you are in charge of your own business, it's only natural that you'll want to maximise your profits while keeping your costs as low as possible, which can mean turning to more efficient ways of doing things. But, with sustainability at the forefront of consumer attitudes nowadays, it's important that any changes you do make are ethical and environmentally friendly. And, your warehouse is a great place to start. 

From choosing more eco-friendly lighting solutions and energy-efficient equipment to having a recycling system in place, below I will be sharing my top tips to help you cut costs and stay ethical in your warehouse. 

Switch to eco-friendly lighting

Most older warehouses will be fitted with traditional incandescent lightbulbs, but many of these use most of their electrical energy to produce heat rather than light, so they can be costly to run. Luckily, there are alternatives that will not only slash your electricity bills in the long term, but also ensure your company are being more environmentally responsible. 

LED bulbs are a great alternative as they have a high lumen output per watt, which means they're able to convert around 70 percent of their energy to light rather than heat. As well as being more energy-efficient and cheaper to run, it also means that they are safer as there is less chance of the bulbs overheating and causing fires. 

Choose energy-efficient equipment

Your warehouse will no doubt be a busy place, stocked full of important equipment and machinery that keeps your business ticking. But these can guzzle electrical energy, raising your bills and further damaging the environment by burning fossil fuels to produce this power. 

When the time comes to replace your existing equipment, or you're simply looking to lower your costs and make a more responsible choice, it'll be worth looking for energy-efficient equipment. This will involve looking at gallons and miles per hour, and how much wattage a specific piece of equipment uses. Be aware that these may have a higher initial cost price than the machinery and tools you used beforehand, however the savings they will make you on your bills will be worth it. 

Have a great warehouse layout in place

The way your warehouse is laid out and functions can have a significant impact on your operating costs. Not only will a clear layout reduce the amount of injuries within the workplace, but it can also help to promote productivity among your workers if they know exactly where they should be going for certain tasks or products, and how to reduce the time spent getting there. 

You can hire experts to come and take a look at your warehouse and make suggestions about its efficiency, or simply monitor your employees in their duties and see how long each task is taking the workforce on average. Once you know which areas of the warehouse are slowing them down, you can look at creating more efficient systems that will grow productivity and lower the amount of time wasted. 

Recycle and re-use wherever possible

One of the simplest ways to cut your warehouse costs is to make use of any materials that you would usually throw away. Warehouses are well-suited to recycling, with many of these filled with paper and cardboard waste that can be reused for other processes within the production line. This could include shredding scrap paper and using it to safely package items or using leftover cardboard to create the packaging itself. 

To minimise the amount of waste your company creates, it'll be important to create a clear recycling system that your staff can and will easily follow. This could mean having labelled bins around the warehouse for paper, card and any other frequently used materials your company uses. As well as keeping the place clean and tidy, and lowering your costs on sourcing new materials, doing your recycling on site will reduce your business' carbon footprint. This is because you will remove the need for large lorries to come and take your waste away. 

Whether your warehouse needs a more efficient layout, or it could benefit from a better recycling system, taking these steps to cut costs and improve the ethics of your business are bound to pay off. Simply try a couple of my top tips and watch your warehouse costs drop.

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