It would appear that the shipping industry of today is all about making profit, whatever the cost. Although owners of shipping companies do love the sound of green bills, they are becoming increasingly aware of the impact global transport has on the environment. That is why we are witnessing more and more sustainable shipping solutions that are designed to decrease environmental print. This is something that end users know how to appreciate and such a method actually decreases the total shipping cost, so suitability pays off in the end. If you are unsure of the exact measures that you need to take, then here are just 5 ways in which your shipping environment can become sustainable, regardless of the size of the enterprise.
One of the biggest wastes when it comes to shipping a certain product is its wrapping. These don’t just cost money but they are highly toxic materials that are used for packaging, like polystyrene foam. Not only does it take half a millennium to decompose but it contains benzene that easily gets into our bloodstream, poisoning us from within. That is why you need to apply eco-friendly solutions that won’t cost you a fortune. The material you are looking for is corrugated cardboard, as it is cheap, readily available, and the best thing is: it has a next to zero environmental footprint. As a byproduct of paper, it dissolves in water easily, so the environment won’t suffer.
Apart from using expensive and toxic materials as wrapping, another common mistake shipping companies make is to use too much packaging, i.e. inadequate packaging. This implies that the boxes products are stored in are either too large or too small, so items protrude from them and can get damaged. If the boy is too big, then whatever you are shipping will move around during transport, risking damage from all that tossing around in the box.
Furthermore, if a box is larger in size than necessary, then it takes more fuel, labor hours, and energy to move it. You need a bigger forklift and more space on the ship or in the truck. In addition, all that extra room inside the box means that the cargo is unstable, which could lead to its mismanagement and cause workers to injure themselves manipulating it. Modern packaging technology allows you to produce boxes that are suitable for any item as they are custom-produced, so all the issues we listed above would be successfully resolved to your delight.
It might seem odd that you can save money on items while they are sitting on shelves but the storage room is actually a place where the biggest saves can be made. First, you can help the worker as part of the environment, to put it jokingly, to stay safe all the time. By reducing the number of work-related accidents, you are creating a better working environment in which your employees will be more willing to implement new procedures you install and no trees will have to be cut to produce the paper the lawsuits are going to be printed on.
Furthermore, you need to maximize the use of space by raising the shelves all the way up to the ceiling, no matter how high it might be set. This will maximize the use of space as you will benefit from extra storage room without the need to build another warehouse. If you are worried about the ease of access to such high places, we are no longer in the 19th century, so manual labor isn’t necessary. Nowadays, there is various materials handling equipment in the form of scissor lifts that can reach any spot in the storage room. If you really want to save money and help save the environment, try getting handling equipment that runs on electricity instead of diesel.
Insulating the warehouse
One of the biggest energy wastes in the storing process is the fact that the walls of the warehouse are often made from thin pieces of metal that have virtually no insulation. This means that heat energy is wasted during winter because you have no means of efficiently heating the warehouse. That is why investing in the thinnest of layers of insulation might be a good idea, so you won’t have to install a whole bunch of AC units in the offices. In addition, you can reduce the heating cost if you have a good ventilation system consisting of large ceiling fans that will distribute warm and fresh air evenly throughout the warehouse. In the summertime, these can double as cooling fans, as all those thin walls get red-hot easily.
Once the goods arrive at your storage unit, they need to be redistributed further on. There is little room to save on the fuel needed to power a container ship but once the packages enter a more urban surrounding, there are certain actions you can take to decrease the fuel consumption and gas emissions. You have to redraw the distribution network to minimize the number of rounds large trucks make and increase the number of steps couriers walk. Essentially, you want to promote means of transport such as walking or cycling that have zero environmental impact. This means acquiring fewer trucks and delivery vans and getting more bikes or electric motorbikes.
The effect of such a delivery policy is multifold. Firstly, your deliverymen will find it easier to navigate traffic jams and access remote location and secondly, you will have thousands of dollars on fuel costs. These are all benefits without taking into consideration the severely increased sustainability of your shipping business that becomes autonomous and you no longer have to follow the global price of oil.
The 5 pieces of advice here are simple to understand and more importantly, they are easy to implement. Buying bicycles isn’t that hard, nor is it purchasing materials handling equipment that will be up for any job, pun intended. Sustainable shipping will some become the standard in the industry, so you need to be ready to welcome this change way before it sweeps global trade.