How can warehouses optimise waste management?


By Ed Smith, freelance journalist.

Waste management is a problem in warehouses across the UK. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can minimise your business’s carbon footprint and improve your brand’s image in the process. 

UK commercial and industrial sectors generated a staggering, 37.9 million tonnes of waste in 2017 alone. With landfills reaching their limits and global warming becoming an ever-present issue, it’s time for businesses to optimise their waste strategies. 

Waste management problems

It’s no surprise that warehouses and distribution centres contribute significant amounts of waste. They generate vast pieces of cardboard and plastic from packaging, storage and much more. Warehouses are also huge buildings, making it challenging to implement a waste management strategy across the board. 

Why is it important to reduce waste?

The environment is the obvious benefit of reducing waste in warehouses. However, waste management can also save you space, time and money by increasing business efficiency. 

Furthermore, consumers are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious. Show your customers that you are mindful of packaging to avoid producing a loud dissatisfied customer base on social media. 

Collecting your waste will make the warehouse cleaner and much safer to work in. Reduce the risk of accidents and illness by merely cleaning up!

Finally, in 2018 a new tax was introduced on the production and importation of plastic packaging, which has less than 30% recycled content. So, not being eco-friendly could cost you more money. 

How to reduce warehouse waste

First, identify the process that is producing the most waste and find a solution. Maybe it’s time you invested in a waste management system to automate the picking process and maximise your efficiency. Manual picking methods means employees spend up to 75% of their time walking across the warehouse. 

Consider training your staff in eco-friendly practices. You can enrol them on recycling courses or teach them about the new modified waste management procedures yourself. These new procedures should include changing your loose-fill policy. The majority of consumers find it impractical and frustrating to receive a massive box with a tiny product inside. 

Invest in a local supplier to receive bespoke containers that are more affordable and eco-conscious. Fill the boxes with biodegradable options if you need to pad out the packaging. 

Look to other companies for inspiration

If you’re new to eco-conscious waste management strategies, learn about it from other businesses. For example, an impressive 97% of instantprint’s waste output is recycled. Their paper is FSC certified, and they have a yearly inspection to be ISO certified. They print flyers, business cards and banners , with the option for customers to have a recycled option on select products. instantprint also uses a ten-point check system to ensure every product meets their high standard, reducing the need to print things twice. 

Consider using some of these management strategies to optimise your waste output and carbon footprint. 

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