Environmental consciousness is growing as the number one concern for many consumers and governing bodies as they choose with whom to do business. As a result, consumers have latched onto the zero-waste movement, which was founded to systematically reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills by an individual or household with the ultimate goal being none at all. They use the 5 R’s to guide these practices: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot.
Though many businesses understand the advantages of staying ahead of the curve both in the public eye and as regulations tighten, what many do not realize is how environmentally-friendly business practices may improve their bottom line and systems. So, we’ve put together a list of the benefits of a zero-waste logistics strategy:
Refusing, reusing, and reducing your available capital comes at a big advantage to costs. Refusing and reducing unnecessary packaging bulk not only costs less in materials, but it often leads to more product per square foot in warehouses, trucks, and fuel costs. Though reusable packaging and insulation materials may have a bigger price point initially, their lifespan leads to significant savings in cost per use over time. MWCold offers packaging services, so even if some of your materials initially arrive in single-use packages and insulation, your final outbound shipments can be placed in reusable, thermally-controlled shipping containers that present a uniform brand image to customers.
Expanded Product Lines
Scrap wood from lumber mills is used to make wood putty and mulch for gardens. Bread companies package breadcrumbs for families looking to make homemade meatballs and fried chicken, and scrap metal can be recycled infinitely to make new products. Many kinds of waste can make new, valuable products housed under your current business or sold as raw materials to another. Either way, this kind of innovation can lead to big profits with little effort.
A sustainable supply chain always applies directly to both products and systems. So in addition to reducing production materials, your green logistics team should also look to reduce warehousing space and costs with programs like cross docking. They should reduce utilities usage with ENERGY STAR rated equipment like refrigeration systems and LED lighting, and ABC priorities for your inventory should be set to reduce personnel time costs. One way MWCold does this is with their deep lane radio shuttle system, which stores product in a high density and allows for maximum use of warehouse space.
Fewer Regulation Overhauls
Does your team need to scramble to meet waste management regulations every time they change? By consistently evaluating your supply chain systems to achieve zero waste, you’ll be ahead of the curve and need fewer procedural and training overhauls for your team. All members of the MWCold team meet monthly to discuss both safety and systems improvements where all levels of employees are invited to make suggestions that save our clients big in the long run.
Lower Environmental Impact
This one is a no-brainer. By minimizing the waste your business produces, you are also minimizing how much gets sent to a landfill, which is the worst possible outcome for the end of a product’s lifetime. Utilizing any of the 5 R’s of zero waste will lead to less trash in our oceans and fewer greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. Small changes can add up, and by tracking them, your business may qualify for one of many available green certifications and awards.
A zero-waste supply chain, much like a zero-waste consumer lifestyle, is a journey of growth rather than a destination. Every improvement made to these systems have an environmental impact and an impact on your business outcomes. Our logistics planners are here to help you find the right balance and keep moving forward on pace with new advances in technology and innovation.