In response to a growing shift toward environmental sustainability, materials handling facilities are working hard to incorporate responsible, safe, and efficient practices into their business models. And the shift to green isn’t just a passing trend; it’s now an essential consideration for any business that hopes to remain competitive in a national and global marketplace. Some of the top trends and methods employed by materials handling organizations are listed below. If you own or manage a warehousing or distribution facility and you haven’t done so already, you may want to put these moves on your list.

Create a sustainability initiative.

You don’t have to accomplish every goal and make every complex change right away, but now is the time to start drafting a road map that can take you through the next three, five, and ten years. Generate plans, set goals, and establish timelines. Once you know where you’re going, you can start working on the nuts and bolts.

Start small and make steady progress.

Most organizations begin taking action with the easiest items on the list. This may mean installing fans to regulate and distribute the air in climate controlled zones, or it may mean limiting power usage by switching to more efficient lighting fixtures. Even modest, easy changes like these can cut energy costs by up to 50 percent.

Cut waste.

You can divide your sources of waste into categories, for example: excess raw materials that must be discarded during processing and production, or excess paper products used and wasted in corporate offices, or wasted space, energy, or resources that can be tightened up and reined in. Perform an audit and shine a light into areas of resource usage that may be overlooked. Once you find weak points, develop solutions that cut the loss. For example, consider leasing or renting facilities that must have light and heat around the clock, but only generate revenue during certain hours of the day.

Re-examine recycling contracts.

What do you do with your old lifting equipment including cranes and lift trucks? What about computers, monitors, tablets, or propane tanks? If you’ve been using the same vendors to recycle or remove these items when their value ends, review those contracts every year to make sure the vendors you rely on are using the most responsible practices at the most affordable price.

For more on how to build green practices and equipment into your materials handling workplace, reach out to the efficiency experts at Liftow.