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How to recycle in warehouses

How to recycle in warehouses

Recycling is one of the easiest ways to help your warehouse go "green". Not only does this reduce your carbon footprint and make your business more sustainable but it can also reduce running costs.


There are a number of simple choices your business can make to reduce your environmental impact without affecting productivity or the bottom line.


Here are our simple tips to help you REDUCE, RECYCLE, REUSE in your warehouse.


1. Start by identifying areas where waste can be reduced or recycled.

The first thing to do is to examine where you currently produce the most waste and consider whether alternative solutions would allow you to reduce your waste output. Where waste is unavoidable, think about what you can do to recycle or reuse that waste.


2. Reduce your packaging

Using less packaging means less waste. Packaging is the single biggest contributor to warehouse waste and the most important factor to address to improve your waste management. Make sure boxes are the right size for goods so that you can minimise the need for loose fill chips or air cushions. Consider whether goods need individual plastic wrapping, can be wrapped together or placed directly in boxes. For essential packaging, reducing your reliance on plastic and switching to biodegradable packaging materials will make a significant difference to your waste output.


3. Switch to reusable or returnable packaging

Pallets are the most obvious piece of packaging that can be reused again and again. However, other packing materials can also be reused. Attached lid containers (or ALCs) are ideal for use as secure and reusable return packaging, particularly for business to business supply. Ask businesses you work with to participate in your "green" scheme by returning your packaging for reuse.


4. Place recycling bins in convenient locations

Make sure that recycling bins are placed throughout the warehouse and that at each waste disposal station there is a bin for each type of recyclable waste. One space-efficient way to do this is by using racksacks. Racksacks are designed to hang on the end of a run of pallet racking to provide a waste disposal solution specifically designed for use in warehouses. Colour-coded wheelie bins are another smart option as they can be moved as needed and emptied easily.


5. Provide mobile waste disposal solutions

In order to make a recycling scheme successful, it has to be as effortless as possible for workers to carry out. In large distribution centres, recycling containers on dollies can make it quicker for employees to dispose of waste as they work. Alternatively, use dedicated cage trolleys to hold cardboard waste (the most common type of recyclable warehouse waste) on its way to larger recycling bins as cage trolleys can easily be moved up and down the aisles.


6. Label waste bins clearly

Make sure workers can easily recognise where to deposit each waste stream. Use a universal colour coding system for the bins or lids. Place clear signs at eye level with pictures as well as text to help people make a quick decision. It’s best to use WRAP compliant colours and pictograms to make the system universally identifiable.


7. Educate the staff about your recycling scheme

Teach staff about what items can be recycled and which bins they should use. The easiest way to do this is simply by putting clear WRAP compliant labels on the bins themselves. You should also provide training about the most efficient way to pack goods to keep packaging to a minimum.


8. Reduce consumables

Think about other consumables that you use day to day in the warehouse. Batteries, for example, can be recycled easily. Can you reduce the amount of paperwork you print out by relying on electronic devices?


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