No matter your industry, implementing a recycling program can help improve warehouse waste management, reduce your carbon footprint, and generate economic incentives by optimizing your waste stream.
While the potential gains of recycling solutions are always there, warehouses must use best practices to unlock all of the benefits.
To help you do so, the recycling pros at AAA Polymer have outlined some of our top warehouse recycling ideas. Whether it's plastic recycling, cardboard waste, or any other particular item, you can use the following simple tips to maximize your recycling efforts.
Start a Plastic Stretch Wrap Recycling to Improve Waste Management
Undoubtedly, stretch wrap packaging may be the most valuable type of recyclable waste in your distribution center or facility. Better yet, this plastic wrapping is one of the easiest and most lucrative materials to recover.
When you remove plastic scrap packaging and recyclable waste from your waste stream, you will naturally save money with the reduced cost of hauling trash to the disposal site. In most instances, this is a fixed charge for every time your trash container is picked up.
A plastic collection program will deliver the lowest combined total cost of baling, collection, and transportation. In addition to reducing the cost of hauling trash to the disposal site, a plastic collection program will reduce your tipping fee.
The tipping fee is a charge levied on your waste when it's received by the processing facility and can range from $20 up to $100 per ton based on your location. With a plastic packaging collection plan, you can redirect the funds spent on tipping fees to more critical areas of your business.
Optimize the Location of Each Waste Disposal Station
As with most things in life, it's location, location, location! And when it comes to maximizing recycling solutions, you must optimize the location of where recyclable packing materials are collected.
Place Bins in Clear and Convenient Locations
To make your recycling scheme successful, all recycling bins must be placed in clear and convenient locations. If your employees are expected to trek across the warehouse to find a plastic stretch film recycling container, you may be expecting too much.
Whether smaller or larger recycling bins, it's imperative to make collecting recyclable packaging waste material easy for your employees. To do so, make sure to place all containers near where employees can logically access recycling containers.
Strategically Locate Bins in the Best Warehouse Environment
One bonus tip is to store recyclable material bins near the areas where your pallets are received and or unwrapped. This simplifies the process of collecting valuable recyclable materials for your warehouse or distribution center. And by maximizing distribution center collection, you can maximize environmental impact.
Collect Plastic Packaging from More Than One Location
When pallets are being shipped between several locations in a business or even within one large location, the recycling scheme supply chain and plastic collection can get confusing.
Setting up a plan to designate where the packaging will be collected in different strategic locations can prevent the loss of valuable stretch film. While optimizing your recycling supply chains can be challenging, the savings generated will make it more than worthwhile.
Simplify Identifying Waste Collection Areas with Clear Signage
Even if you strategically choose the best location throughout your warehouse, you should leverage clear signage to indicate recycling spots. In addition to identifying areas and storage bins, make sure you use clear signage for detached and attached lid containers.
It's a best practice to place clear signs at eye level. You can amplify the impact of the signs by using pictures and text, which can help employees make quick and easy decisions.
Educate, Engage & Inspire Employees to Embrace the Recycling Process
Your warehouse or distribution center employees are your first and last line of defense for minimizing waste output and optimizing waste streams. As such, each team member must understand how plastic recycling works and the importance of capturing scrap materials from waste streams.
And this means your ability to provide training is a very important factor. When employees mix valuable plastic packaging materials that are recyclable in with the trash, it can hinder the impact of your stretch film recycling initiative and reduce savings. Here are a few ways to help employees stick to the recycling plan.
Educate Employees on the Impact of Recycled Materials
Educate your employees on the importance of the initiative for the local environment, local economy, and the company's bottom line.
Discourage Improper Use of Receptacles in Distribution Centers
Strongly discourage the use of recycling containers as trash cans or receptacles — particularly among those employees who aren't directly involved with the program.
Inspire Employees in Reducing Waste in the Warehouse
Inspire and motivate your employees by demonstrating how their efforts make a bigger impact. You can also make recycling a cultural event by supporting more sustainable practices throughout the business.
Reward Employees for Goals Achieved by Distribution Centers
Help engage your employees by offering an incentive for hitting recovery goals. In addition, it's important to commit to ongoing employee education for long-term success.
Implement Best Practices for Distribution Centers
When it comes to packaging recycling in distribution centers, it's important to use tested, tried, and proven practices to reduce waste and optimize the collection of recyclables. Doing so can open the door to a significant difference, affecting productivity in a positive, noticeable way. Here are a few of the top strategies that can be used for most waste.
Remove Warehouse Stretch Film Waste Strategically
It's important to remove stretch film and pallet packaging as soon as it comes close to the receiving area. This can prevent contamination and maximize the value of your stretch film.
Collect Trim Scraps and Roll-Ends
Roll-ends and trim scraps can also be recycled easily. This means these scraps can be recovered in the shipping area where pallets are wrapped for shipment.
Don't Use "Plastics Only" Labels in the Warehouse
Avoid using general labels like "Plastics Only" in your warehouse. In contrast to improving your ability to recycle, "Plastics Only" labels will attract all types of plastic materials — many of which are not recyclable.
Instead, it's best to use "Stretch Wrap'' or "Stretch Film" labels for warehouse recycling programs. This simple step can help designate the proper receptacle more clearly.
Quality Control Is Key for Your Warehouse Recycle Program
To truly unlock the value of your recycling program, quality control is key. This means you must engage other warehouse vendors to explain the importance of your recycling efforts. A few bonus tips to include:
Explain the specifications of your stretch wrap recycling program.
Request that vendors keep labels and tape off of the stretch wrap materials.
Ask vendors to avoid using tinted film and colored materials.
Share the success of your warehouse recycling program with vendors and communicate the vital role they play in making a difference.
Contact AAA Polymer
At AAA Polymer, we specialize in offering custom recycling solutions for small to large distribution centers. We regularly help warehouses and distribution centers find greener, alternative solutions for waste management. And the team at AAA Polymer will work closely with you to help you implement and optimize your stretch film recycling program.
Contact AAA Polymer today.