How Distribution Centres Can Recycle More

Distribution centres, supply chain management companies and even warehouses can generate a considerable amount of waste material from packaging, meeting orders, assembling items and inventory management. These centres often operate at high-volumes, all-day, every day; therefore, any downtime would result in a loss of their revenue. 

The problem with these businesses, however, is that they contribute significantly to the amount of waste cardboard, paper and plastic that this country produces. Due to the size and scale of these distribution sites and warehouses, implementing a sustainable waste management program that spans such a large area needs meticulous planning.

Here at Fresco Environmental, we understand that your recycling schemes and methods need to fit in and, ultimately, keep up with your rate of production and distribution. With over 40 years of experience in waste and recycling, we aim to take the corporate headache out of your waste management. With these recycling processes, your distribution centre can become more environmentally-friendly without compromising your productivity. 

Go ‘Green’ and Recycle

Firstly, distribution centres can recycle more by implementing a scheme. Turning your distribution centre into a ‘green’ enterprise may seem like a huge feat; but, once implemented, the positives of a recycling scheme and their money saving methods will far out-way the cons. And, it may be easier than your first thought to set one up. 

For many years, waste has been commonplace in distribution centres, with many turning a blind eye to the sheer volume that is created. Today, if your business is seen as unsustainable and not environmentally-friendly, this could lose your warehouse vital custom.

The latest Government figures that were produced in March 2020 estimate that the UK generated 33.1 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste in 2016 which increased to 37.2 million tonnes by 2018. And now with China’s recent waste restrictions on imports, the UK’s challenge just got bigger. In order for customers and clients to keep looking upon your business favourably, your business needs to be seen as doing all it can to reduce its contribution to these figures. 

Recycling Solutions for Distribution Centres

There are many things that your distribution centre can do to reduce its impact on the environment, and without compromising your productivity. Deciding to minimise and eradicate waste in going ‘green’ will encourage you to optimise internal practices too. Each business now has the responsibility of updating their waste management strategies and setting up new and effective ways of reusing and recycling materials instead of sending them to landfill sites.

Assess your Waste Output

Before you can consider what waste management measures that your distribution centre can put in place, you must at first establish what areas are producing the most waste output. Which parts of your company can easily avoid creating this amount of waste? Start thinking of alternative solutions, specifically, ways in which you can recycle or reuse the waste packaging that you are producing. Which materials are used the most in your processes? Are there ways that you can swap from plastic packaging to biodegradable alternatives? 

Reduce and Reuse Packaging

If you can reduce the amount of packaging materials that you use, the less waste that you will produce. Packaging is the single most significant contributor to warehouse waste and, consequently, the simplest way to kick-start your distribution centre’s efforts to go ‘green’. A simple step to start this process is by ensuring boxes are the right size for goods, then the need for loose fill is reduced or even eradicated. Another way is to evaluate your use of plastic wrap; is it really needed? If it is essential, try avoiding plastic and swap to biodegradable packing materials.

Reusing packing is yet another way that you can quickly reduce your waste pile. Any excess materials and off-cuts that build up can be put back into your resources and used again. Similarly, any materials and packaging coming into the distribution centre can also be put back into your stockpile. Make a habit of reusing cardboard boxes for office equipment and storage; in the long run, these easy changes will help you to save money, as well as improve the environment. 

Introduce Recycling Bins

Introducing recycling bins throughout your warehouse will make recycling easy and accessible for your workforce, and it will avoid adding any time delay when disposing of recyclable waste. By implementing recycling bins at each waste disposal station across the site, all workers will have access to your new recycling scheme.

As well as the positioning of the recycling bins, labelling the containers is equally as important. Make sure that your workers can recognise where each stream should now be deposited. Using the universal colour coding system is a simple way that you can make your methods understandable to all. Adding pictures to your text will also aid your workers when working in high capacities, in compliance with the Waste and Resources Action Program (WRAP).

Educate your Staff

Similar to any new strategy, there needs to be sufficient communication across all of your departments, ensuring that all members of staff understand what the new recycling scheme entails, as well as why these measures are vital.

There also needs to be training for your workforce if you want your efforts to be successful. By educating your staff about which materials can now be recycled and which recycling bin is designated for which content, questions or issues with the modifications to their waste management procedures can be identified and overcome. 

Invest in the Right Containers

For your recycling scheme to be a success, finding the right professional supplier is crucial. Find a company that can offer you on-site containers that meet the demands of your different waste streams and open up more recycling opportunities. The containers need to be the correct size that caters to your businesses needs and your targets.

The London Environment Strategy ia aiming for London to be a zero-waste city; setting a goal that by 2026 no biodegradable or recyclable waste will be sent to landfill and by 2030 65 per cent of London’s municipal waste will be recycled. With more targets being set, more and more distribution centres are re-evaluating their waste levels in order to comply.

But, we can offer better. With Fresco Environmental, all of our total waste solutions are to the highest standards and, more importantly, provide a zero waste to landfill solution. That is why we are a leading total waste management solution provider in the north-west.

Zero Waste to Landfill Sites

After all of your recycling efforts, your company will still have an amount of general waste. At Fresco Environment, we avoid taking this waste to landfill sites. Instead, un-recoverable waste is processed into Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) or Solid Derived Fuel (SDF). These fuels can then be treated as Energy from Waste (EFW) and converted into a source of electricity.

Once you have our recycling plan in place, every waste product has a designated route through your facility. Your business will continue to operate at peak performance, and you will be reducing your contribution to the negative impact on the environment by improving your sustainability.

‘Challenge Fresco’

With our ‘Challenge Fresco’ ethos, we observe alternative waste streams to find a recyclable solution that ensures that we avoid taking any waste to landfill sites.

Within the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, they have calculated that 80% of the damage inflicted upon the environment when products become waste can be avoided if more thoughtful decisions are made. Distribution centres can get ahead of the game and reduce their waste. By establishing a thorough recycling scheme at their distribution centres, they can reduce their running costs, increase their sustainability and lower their carbon footprint.

If you’re interested in how Fresco Environment can help your distribution centre recycle more, check out our website today for more information about how we can support your businesses waste management. We can give you the support and tools necessary to help you start a recycling plan and make a positive difference in your distribution centre. Fresco Environmental will also help you implement a zero-waste policy and get in front of the statistics. 

Don’t hesitate, speak to us today on 0151 423 9900 or drop us an email to info@frescoenvironmental.com to find out more about how our waste management solutions can help you.

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