Sustainability in The Material Handling World

Sustainability entails the optimization of all aspects of the supply chain – from equipment and procedures to personnel and warehouse facilities – to ensure maximum carbon footprint reduction. An effective eco-friendly strategy should anticipate potential challenges, such as regulatory changes or shifts in material availability. Seeking guidance from expert partners and providers like Shoppa’s can help to successfully implement equipment and solutions to improve your impact on the environment.  

How can your business be more environmentally sustainable? 

As more warehouses and distribution professionals aim to meet compliance and sustainability standards, there’s a heightened awareness of their environmental obligations. As a result, many warehouses are now concentrating on their eco-conscious responsibilities. 

The Switch to Electric Forklifts 

Electric forklifts are often the most environmentally friendly forklifts and can serve a variety of industries. Unlike propane IC trucks, electric forklifts emit zero emissions thanks to the use of rechargeable batteries. Electric forklifts are gaining popularity because of advancements like faster charging, greater voltage outputs, and new and improved battery, pump, and motor technology. According to Preston Shoppa, Field Service Manager at Shoppa’s, this shift is really helping companies to justify the switch to electric forklifts.   

The selection of batteries for electric material handling equipment is a key factor in efficient fleet management and can have a significant impact on your company’s bottom line. The transition from lead acid to lithium batteries is expected to reduce electricity consumption by 35-50%. These savings stem from the use of more efficient chargers, decreased energy density lost over time, slow discharging rates, the ability to analyze data, and advanced materials.  

Battery Recycling and Water Treatment 

Avoiding toxic heavy metals and hazardous waste from entering landfills and water sources is imperative to establish a sustainable operation. Our power partner, Viking Power, offers a recycling program and water treatment services that makes it easy for you to protect your bottom line and protect the environment.  

Recycling and disposing batteries properly must be incorporated into your business to keep the environment clean. No matter if you have lithium ion, lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, or nickel-metal-hydride batteries, it’s important to have a plan in place for discarding them after use. Not to mention, 99% of lead-acid batteries are recycled!  

Viking’s sustainable water-quality management program that helps you improve corporate social responsibility (CSR). The water treatment process completely cleans and neutralizes batteries while processing the wash water to meet EPA and DOT requirements. It allows you to have your batteries clean and ready for reuse, making it one of the most valuable investments you can make in your industrial facility. 

Energy Use in Automation   

Choosing environmentally friendly warehouse technology can offer numerous benefits to your business, including reducing energy usage and maintenance costs. By opting for innovative storage solutions like high-density storage systems and narrow aisle racking, you can reduce the carbon footprint of your warehouse by up to 50%. Our automation partner, Advanced Intralogistics, specializes in improving equipment designs to supply eco-friendly systems that move materials safely and with minimal environmental consequences.  

Partnering with experts can help you design and implement eco-friendly systems that move materials safely and efficiently. Additionally, using warehouse automation and robots can significantly reduce the need for electricity by operating in a dark warehouse and implementing sleep mode to turn off conveyors when not in use. Regenerative capable motors also allow for the capture of electrical energy when equipment or products are lowered, further reducing your environmental impact. 

Dock & Door Energy Solutions 

Making sure your dock and door equipment is functioning properly is important for the health and safety of your staff, as well as protect your products from external elements. Having properly sealed entrances ensures that temperatures inside the facility are controlled and reduces the workload on your AC/heating units, cutting energy usage significantly. Dock and Door Service Manager, Robert Schroeter, acknowledges that temperature regulation at the dock can be a challenge, but there are a number of effective solutions available such as: 

  • Cold storage doors 
  • Temperature control door seals 
  • Freezer doors 
  • Air doors 
  • Traffic or impact doors 

It’s important to tailor doors to your unique application for optimal sealing and temperature control.  

A Greener Future

With the rise in plans for zero-emission and climate control goals in the U.S., businesses must embrace sustainable practices in their operations, including the use of eco-friendly material handling equipment. Implementing green initiatives is not just a moral imperative but also a smart business decision that can lead to a more sustainable future for all.Improve your energy and operational efficiency today by talking with a Shoppa’s expert.