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Eleven Ways to Perforate the Problem of Prolific Plastics

Recycling and repurposing containers and packaging is a great way to make your business more green. Learn why this is important and how to start addressing plastic problems and solutions.

According to Mother Nature Network, the United States, alone, produces over 30 million tons of plastic waste each and every year. Since only 5 percent of plastic waste gets recycled, 28.5 million tons of plastic end up in our environment…each year. Nearly 50 percent of this waste goes into landfills where it will take many thousands of years to decompose. Forty-five percent of the plastic refuse is simply floating around the world as litter with much of it ending up in our rivers and lakes. Other plastics get washed out to sea to join up with one of the several floating trash gyres (floating islands of trash the size of Texas or greater). One of the gyres, the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch, is as large as a continent and is wiping out sea life.

How Does That Impact My Business?

Many businesses leaders are aware of facts like these and genuinely want to help the planet, but they have shareholders, need to be concerned with profits, and, quite honestly, are commercial operations and not vigilante recycling organizations. These leaders want to know about plastic problems and solutions, but still need to take their bottom line into account. How does recycling and repurposing plastics impact their organizations, and what can they do about it.

First, green is the new…well, green. If you want to keep the greenbacks coming in, thinking environmentally green is a great idea. In fact, a survey by Cone Communications showed that “a record-high 71 percent of Americans consider the environment when they shop, up from 66 percent in 2008.” And, it’s not just Americans that want businesses to be environmentally friendly. According to the Neilson group, “Fifty-five percent of global online consumers across 60 countries say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.”

Simply put, consumers want to do business with businesses that are socially and environmentally responsible. Recycling and repurposing containers and packaging are excellent green ideas for businesses and offer the easiest way to start.

Second, when businesses take green initiatives, it makes their staff happy and that is good for morale and PR. After all, many of those customers who buy green are also your employees. When they know that they are working for a company “with a heart” and that has taken an initiative to help the enviornment, they feel better about their work. This not only creates happy employees, but they share that happiness with their family and friends. Every CEO knows the value of good PR and marketing. How much more valuable is it when that marketing and PR doesn’t cost you a dime?

Third, the bottom line is actually impacted by recycling and repurposing. Used containers and shipping materials can be purchased cheaper than new ones. Tax breaks can be earned through recycling efforts or donating materials to local schools or other non-profits. In addition to all of the good-will you will be earning, you will be making positive financial contributions to the company through lower product costs and tax breaks.

How Do I Start?

Understanding that recycling and repurposing is good for business is one thing, but putting a plan into operation is another. How does one go about making a difference and becoming “more green”? Let’s take a look at eleven ways that you can make a difference on both a personal and corporate level.

Corporate Alternatives

Plastic problems and solutions go beyond the realm of personal consumption. They are also used on an industrial scale in businesses and corporations around the world. The number of plastic items that end up in landfills can be decreased dramatically by reusing and repurposing the myriad plastic containers used each and every day. In fact, the EarthWorks Group estimates that single-use paper and plastic package amount to 30 percent of waste in our nation’s landfills. Consider these amazing green ideas for businesses instead of one-use packaging and storage:

Bulk Containers

When shipping or storing bulk items, consider purchasing collapsable or uniform bulk containers that have been used and cleaned. Since the aesthetics of the container are not an issue, a few scuffs or marks are not going to affect the container’s usefulness or purpose. Whether you are moving or storing powders and granules or manufactured goods, many bulk containers are able to hold over a ton of weight regardless of whether or not they were previously used.

Plastic Pallets

Wood pallets break, absorb leaked material, and are generally disposable. This means you are shelling out money each time you need a new pallet. Plastic pallets are durable, reusable, and already in the market. Reusing a plastic pallet not only saves you money, but it keeps treated wood (not safe or desirable) out of the landfills.

Plastic pallets are also bug-free and deter the growth of bacteria and mold. Bugs are the main reason that wooden pallets must be heat treated. Not only do wood pallets absorb fats, solvents, odors, mold, mildew, and bacteria, but they are susceptible to insects. For example, the emerald ash borer is a pest that can easily hitch a ride in wooden pallets and then cause tremendous amounts of damage to its new environment. Plastic pallets do not allow absorption or infestation.

There are many reasons to use pallets, but no good reasons to avoid switching to used plastic ones. They are cost-effective and good for the environment.

Stackable Totes

Stackable and nesting totes are containers used for storage and shipping. They are made from extra-durable material and have a long life. Sadly, many companies continue to buy more and more totes instead of seeking an alternative solution. Selling your old totes or buying used ones from a container exchanger is not only extremely cost-effective, but it lessens the need for more plastic totes to be manufactured, which is good for the environment as well as valuable green ideas for businesses.

Much more durable than cardboard, the stackable nesting totes stack within each other for storage, but when the lid is added they stack on top of each other. Because they are fully sealed, they can store anything from powder to manufactured goods. The totes are often designed to be used in conjunction with plastic pallets.

Plastic Organizers

A favorite of every business from the admin office to the mechanic’s garage and carpenter’s shop, stacking and nesting organizers are one of the most efficient ways to keep your papers, nuts, bolts, tools, and widgets separated and organized. If you doubt their durability, just think about how many uses nesting bins are good for at the TSA area of an airport.

Next time you set out to the office supply store or industrial wholesaler to pick up some organizers, consider purchasing ones that have been used. They still function the same, but they can be purchased for pennies on the dollar. Even better, you reduced your carbon footprint and took one more step toward being a green industry.

Personal Alter

Polystyrene

also known as styrofoam, is used in everything from packing material to egg cartons and from plates, bowls, and cups to take out containers at restaurants. Consider these four easy ways you can cut down on the use of styrofoam by using your own glass containers.

  • At the meat counter, provide your own packaging. The butcher can weigh your container, balance out the scale, and price the meat for you without using plastic wraps or Styrofoam meat trays.
  • Carry your own coffee cup with you. Almost every restaurant, gas station, and fast food joint will fill up your container instead of putting your drink in a disposable cup.
  • Bring your own “take out” containers to the restaurant. Most of us know if we are going to finish our meal when we go out to eat. Past history tells us that some people clear their plates, and others take half of their meal home. We also know which restaurants provide scanty portions and which go overboard, so you know when to bring additional containers. Instead of adding another stack of Styrofoam containers to the garbage, simply put the unused food in your own reusable containers. If you are ordering take-out, you can give the service person your container and ask that they put your food in it instead of using their packaging. They may give you an odd look at first, but you might be surprised how quickly the idea catches on.
  • Make sure you get your eggs in cardboard and not Styrofoam containers. If you have extra egg containers, bring them back to the store so they can be reused. If you only use a dozen eggs a week, you will keep several thousand containers out of the landfills over your adult lifetime.

Plastic bags

are everywhere. It is estimated that plastic bags are used millions of times every minute around the clock. To cut down on plastic bag use, consider the following:

  • Bring your own bags to the grocery. At the very least, ask for paper bags at checkout. The average consumer disposes of several hundred small plastic grocery bags each year. You can make a huge impact on the environment simply by transporting your groceries in a reusable or greener alternative.
  • Bring your own produce bags. A thin cotton bag (you can make one from an old t-shirt) is the perfect way to transport your fruits and vegetables without adding more plastic bags to the system. Additionally, since the cotton breathes, it is better for your produce.
  • Use your own bags at the bulk food aisle or store. Simply check with customer service prior to filling the bag to find out how they will deduct the weight of the bag for you.

Bring your own straw

While this may seem silly at first, there are billions of straws that end up in our ecosystem every year, and they don’t decompose any faster than plastic bags, which means they will be there for the next thousand years, at least. It may not seem convenient, but once you get used to bringing your own stainless steel straw with you, it will be hard to remember doing things any other way.

Avoid plastic juice containers

Not only does juice contain extra sugar and, often, additives like high fructose corn syrup, but it is missing the fiber from the actual fruit. If you feel you must have juice, modern blenders and juicers are able to provide high-quality juice in a matter of moments. By eliminating just two bottled juice containers each week, you, alone, will quickly reduce the number of plastic bottles in our environment.

Choose refillable metal lighters or use matches

There are billions of disposable lighters sold every year in the United States. Hundreds of millions of these lighters end up in storm drains, on our shorelines, and in landfills. In addition to the plastic taking thousand of years to decompose, the unused chemicals seep into the water supply, and animals see the bright colors and eat them, often dying from this consumption.

Say no to bottled water

Ban the Bottle’s fact page says that “Americans use some 50 billion plastic water bottles annually – that’s over $1 billion in plastic. And we recycle just one-quarter of them.” By taking advantage of reusable bottles, you are are helping to save the land, waterways, and oceans.

Consider using cloth diapers

This isn’t suggesting that you go back to swaths of cotton clumsily pinned to your baby’s bottom. The cloth diapers of today are form-fitted with elastic legs and button or velcro closures. They can be paired with absorbent covers for extra protection. Because of advances in textile technology, diaper materials do not need to be soaked in tubs of bleach and do not create horrible smelling sections of your home.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that disposable diapers amount to over 7.5 billion pounds of waste each and every year in the United States. Not only are cloth diapers easy to use, convenient, less expensive than disposables, and better for the baby’s skin, but they are a great way to reduce your contributions to landfills, as well as your carbon footprint. Your use of cloth diapers might not eliminate the 20 billion disposable diapers that are thrown away each year, but you can reduce that number by approximately 6,000 for each one of your children who use cloth!

The Bottom Line

Millennials are consumers who think green. It doesn’t take a complete retrofit of your industry or corporation to make a difference, either. A small change in your personal and corporate habits can have a major impact on your business and your world. Best of all, if you are using a container exchange service, you can save enough money to have a major, positive impact on your bottom line, as well.

4 Ways of Reducing Workplace Waste

banner-6Balancing what you put into a business with what you’re able to get out of it is always one of the top concerns in the business world. After all, the more costs you incur, the harder it is to make a decent profit, as well as to focus on expanding business opportunities. With this in mind, it’s important to find green practices for businesses and find ways of reducing waste in the workplace.  

Wasteful use of materials, even if just from a lack of knowledge regarding how they could be better utilized, can lead to major costs piling up fast. No worries, though, as here we’ll go over some great ways to alter wasteful business practices so that you can start getting more out of what you invest in your business.

Business Analysis:

The best way to ensure that you cut back on as much waste as possible is to expose just how much waste is taking place and why. For this, you’re going to have to do a little analyzing of your business practices.  

Look over shipping methods, overall logisitcs, storage methods, production practices, and what you do with discarded materials. You may quickly find that the ordering/supply methods you’ve been using are no longer working for your business and need to be altered, or that you have a good amount of materials that are being thrown out when they could have been used in production.

Reevaluate Inventory:

It’s quite common for many companies to order too many supplies, raw materials, or finished products – or even not enough. This can become a major area of waste that leads to a lot of additional costs. To help cut down on this waste, you need to conduct regular inventory checks.  Don’t just perform a yearly inventory of all of your stock; perform checks on a quarterly basis.  If it’s clear that certain materials aren’t being used as much, or that particular goods aren’t selling, then you need to alter your orders and focus your investments elsewhere.

Practice the Three Rs:

“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” – very simple principles when you get down to it. Practicing this theory can majorly reduce costs, not only when it comes to ordering new goods and materials, but also in terms of your overhead. Being wiser and more creative with energy consumption and the way in which you use your facility’s space can contribute to reducing waste in the workplace as well as utility costs and lease expenses. 

It’s likely that you use products like storage bins, plastic containers, pallets, crates, and other items to either store or ship materials. Instead of having to constantly buy new products and then toss the old ones out, invest in used and new products from companies like Container Exchanger.  Here you can not only buy used products at more affordable prices, but even sell your old ones.  This way, you can make back some of the money you invested on the older products, while also cutting down on what goes into landfills.

Incentive Programs:

To help motivate employees in the reduction of workplace waste, start programs that reward them according to how much of a difference they’re able to make. You can offer individual rewards throughout the year to those who have managed to reduce the amount of money spent on new goods, or who have managed to find ways of reusing cast-off material. You could even create a year-end goal regarding how much you want to save on utilities, purchases, and so on, and promise a party or similar reward if the goal is met.

Business Practices for the Environmentally Conscientious

ftrWe all want to feel that we’re doing our part to boost conservation and sustainability, and this certainly extends to the business world. Companies – especially in the industry sector – tend to carry out rather large operations, the type that can brandish a little bit more might, in terms of environmental detriment.  

Knowing the sort of impact that everyone from manufacturers to suppliers can have on the natural world around us, it’s crucial to have some sort of game plan at the ready that can allow you to conduct your business as successfully and environmentally conscientious as possible. To get you started on the right path, check out these key pieces of advice and waste reduction tips pieced together specifically with green business practices in mind.

Waste Reduction Tips:

One of the most common areas that cause environmental problems in the business world is that of waste. The things you throw out can pile up fast in a landfill, and many items used throughout various industrious inevitably carry harmful chemicals and toxins. These chemicals can leach into soil and groundwater, or even become distributed throughout natural waterways. 

To reduce how much you end up tossing out, you first have to analyze your business’s practices.  You may be surprised about how much you can cut from your needed supplies and materials when you take a closer look at the sort of practices carried out by your company and what you need in order to accomplish these tasks. It could be that you need far less paper, plastic, chemicals, or whatever other material you utilize on a regular basis.  

Also be sure to evaluate how reusable certain materials are, even if it requires you to get a little creative. Some businesses may find that they have a great deal of leftover raw or finished materials. Some green business practices suggest selling those materials for a profit to other businesses that could utilize these goods, whereas originally they would have been thrown out.

Digital Recordkeeping:

People tend to be a little wary of digital recordkeeping and overall reliance on digital formatting when it comes to the business world. The concern is always present that information could be more easily stolen or even wiped out if it were placed in a digital format. However, this is precisely where security software and backup systems come in handy. 

Reducing the amount of paper your business uses for recordkeeping, sales and promotions, and so on could have a tremendous impact on your efforts to reduce your company’s environmental impact. Plus, going digital is common with green business practices which also help to streamline businesses. Going digital offers greater efficiency and maybe even a lesser cost.

Reusing Materials:

Out of all our waste reduction tips, reusing items is the simplest and easiest. Many companies rely on products like plastic containers, shipping crates, pallets, organizer bins, and other organizers in order to store, sort, and transport materials and finished goods. Rather than buying brand new products, look to companies like Container Exchanger, where you can purchase quality used products.  This way, you can not only reduce the energy that goes into making new products and the amount of materials that end up in landfills, but also save your business some money. Many such products are made of recycled materials or can themselves be recycled: something that adds an additional bonus to those looking to go green.

Re-thinking What It Means to Buy Used

The term “used” has such a negative connotation attached to it, and it just doesn’t make sense. Sure, there are certain things that just don’t sound all that appealing if you add “used” to it (underwear, food – that’s just icky). But there are so many things that you could be buying used that will give you the same quality, aesthetic, durability – whatever – as any new counterpart.  

Plus, unless we’re talking a valuable antique or collectable, used pretty much always means cheaper, and who among us doesn’t like having to spend less money?  

Of course, to get you to leave behind all of the negative things you’ve surrounded “used” with, you’re probably going to have to see some examples. In that case, you’ve come to the perfect place, as here we’ll go over some of the best things you can buy used and feel super proud about.

College Is Expensive Enough:

Have you seen the cost of tuition these days, even at average universities? Yes, college costs enough as it is, without uselessly spending more, and one thing that you definitely don’t need to buy new is a textbook. A textbook that was just used last semester has nothing less to offer than a brand new textbook that just showed up at the campus bookstore or online.  

As long as the professor is still using the same edition, you can even buy a used textbook that’s a couple of years old. Then again, it would be smart to talk to your professor and see how drastic the changes are in editions, as you might still be able to buy an older edition even if a new one is being used in class. Buy used items while in college and you’ll see the savings add up.

They’ll Outgrow It Anyways:

Constantly buying brand new clothes for your kids is a habit you can certainly cut back on. Save costs and buy used items for younger kids! Young children, especially infants and toddlers, will grow out of their clothes so quickly that you can easily end up spending a small fortune buying them new clothes every few months. It makes more sense to use hand-me-downs or clothes purchased at a thrift store/consignment shop.  

A lot of retailers for children’s clothes will sell quality used clothing – something that’s a double bonus for you, because unless you have another child you’re planning on passing them down to, you can go ahead and get rid of the old clothes by donating them rather than tossing them in the trash. For older kids, buying used is still an option. After all, vintage used clothes are highly fashionable these days.

It’s Just for Storage, After All:

For both businesses and households, purchasing used storage solutions is a no-brainer. You can find quality retailers, like Container Exchanger, that buy and sell used containers, bins, wire baskets, etc. which are perfect for commercial and even residential applications. If you’re needing products for a warehouse or stockroom, or you need some better storage in a garage or workshop, then purchase some used stackable bins or containers.  

A lot of these things typically still look close to new anyways, but, for even better deals, consider buying ones that might look a little scratched or scuffed. You can purchase spray paint that’s made especially for painting plastic surfaces, and then paint them whatever color you want, even creating designs or logos using stencils. Buy used items, and before you know it, you’ll have something that looks brand new for a fraction of the cost.

Vintage Can Be Chic:

Buying secondhand furniture doesn’t have to be as shabby as it sounds. A lot of things look absolutely amazing with just a little TLC – so much so, that plenty of people make a living out of buying secondhand furniture and sprucing it up, reselling it for way more than they have invested in it.  

Don’t walk past a sofa or chair that has a hideous fabric. Stop and ignore the fabric for a moment, paying attention instead to the furniture’s overall design. If the lines are pleasing and it offers the seating you’re looking for, then haggle a price down and just have it reupholstered.  

See a wooden table, bureau, or desk that’s seen better days? Buy and refinish it: You’ll be thrilled at how great it looks after a little sanding and a new coat of stain. Of course, painting furniture can go a long way toward throwing life back into an old piece without having to spend a lot of money.  

In the end, that’s got to be your overall outlook on everything: Think of what something can be, rather than what it currently is.

Running a Green Business

Life on this planet may have existed for eons, enduring one catastrophe after another, but it’s nevertheless a fragile and precious thing.  Subsequently, the pollution and harmful practices we take part in can cause major damage to the natural world.  

However, we have it within our means to change things for the better, creating a world that’s healthier for us as well as more amenable to all of the wonderful species that inhabit this planet.  Business and industrial practices have a lot to do with the environmental problems facing our world, so here we’ll discuss a variety of ways that businesses can make a more positive impact on the environment.

Businesses Going Green – Designing Them Right:

Humans are extraordinarily adept when it comes to innovation and creativity.  We’re constantly creating new and better ways of doing things, or more advanced technology that completely opens up opportunities for creating things we never thought possible.  

This innovation has been rigorously applied to commercial and industrial construction, allowing us bigger and better opportunities to design eco-friendly spaces.  One rather surprising feature of green building is to feature … well … something green.  More and more commercial buildings are creating green zones on roofs as well as walls.  These living components of the building help to provide a natural insulation that reduces heating and cooling costs.  

What’s more, they also help to cut down on urban heat.  Urban areas tend to be so much hotter because of all of the building materials that either absorb heat or reflect it down to the streets below.  Vegetation transpires, or lets out evaporated moisture, which in turn helps to cool the surrounding area, meaning that urban spaces can seem a little less like heat traps.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the term “graywater,” and, if not, that’s fine: You’re about to learn a thing or two about it.  Graywater is a term applied to the water garnered from a rainwater catchment system. Businesses going green should consider this option as graywater can be used for sprinkler systems, cooling systems, and even toilets.  

For a commercial building, the amount of water that can be collected can be vast (the larger the roof space, the more gallons collected).  This is water that can be used in lieu of that contained within reservoirs or in groundwater.  

When we take more water out of natural systems (think waterways, the water cycle, etc.), then we cause more of a strain on the ecosystems that require the presence of water.  We even make it harder on ourselves, as we use up water that could otherwise be used for more essential things, such as consumption.

Also, think of using recycled or salvaged products when building a space, no matter how state-of-the-art it’s meant to be.  Nowadays you can easily purchase insulation that features recycled materials and which still provides a high insulation rating.  Tons of materials can be salvaged and reused, from steel and other metal products to flooring, lumber, and beams.  

You can even use building products that feature organic material that’s sturdy and lasts just as long as other material.  Everything from straw to hemp is being used in modern construction, and people love it because it means fewer chemicals used to create products and fewer possible health hazards for the people exposed to them.

Running a Successful Business – Actions Create Impact:

The everyday practices that businesses employ can have major environmental repercussions.  We live in the digital age, so this would really be the best time to start using way less paper.  If you’re sending out documents or adverts to people, change from paper to virtual and send these things via email.  Most people these days pay bills, make purchases, and handle personal affairs online rather than through the mail.  Going digital is inevitably more convenient and efficient, anyways.

If you network a lot with other companies or work closely with various suppliers and vendors, start to look for ones that are also taking a more eco-friendly approach.  This creates more of an incentive for other businesses to follow suit, lest they find themselves out of the commercial loop.  It also means that you’re more likely to come into contact with other eco-friendly ideas that can help reduce your impact on the environment as well as save you money.

The products you use to conduct business are also key.  If you’re buying a lot of storage products, such as bins and containers to hold goods, tools, etc. then start to look for recycled or recyclable options.  Also, rather than buy something new, look for used plastic containers and other storage options. In the long run, you’ll end up spending less money which will help you in running a successful business. Reusing a product is more eco-friendly than having more things created to end up in landfills.

Creating a Better World – Eco-Friendly Ideas and Solutions for Your Home

We live in an age where topics like pollution and climate change are part of our everyday lives. We worry about water and air quality, whether or not the household or yard products we’re using are putting toxins into the environment or our living spaces, and what our actions today will mean for future generations.

Becoming more environmentally aware is a good thing, though, and implementing practices that make the world a healthier and more vibrant place for us and the life around us is a lot easier than you might think. It’s time to start nurturing our world, so get ready to learn and to become inspired with these go green ideas for homes!

Green Building:

Taking a more eco-friendly approach can start before you even have a home. Whether you’re building from scratch or you’re remodeling, take the opportunity to go with an approach that reflects the concepts of sustainability and environmental protection. Purchase lumber or go with a contractor that uses lumber from sustainable forestry programs. These programs help to reduce clear-cutting practices and help to keep our forests intact, thus maintaining key habitat areas and nurturing vital ecosystems.  

Look for high-efficiency appliances when you’re putting together your kitchen or laundry space. Such appliances do their work while drawing on less energy – something that’s not only good for the environmental but also really great for your wallet.

Insulation is pretty big when it comes to creating a home that has a more positive impact on the environment. The amount of energy you use to heat and cool your home is translated directly to how much pollution gets put into the atmosphere and our waterways, and how many ecosystems are disturbed in the search for energy resources.

Even if you use natural gas, remember that even though they say it burns cleaner, it’s still not 100% clean, and it’s definitely not renewable or sustainable: Natural gas is a finite fossil fuel – we won’t always have it. With all of this in mind, make sure that your home is well insulated and that you use environmentally friendly products as well. Replace old windows for newer ones that are better insulated and which feature UV protection – something really important for areas that get a lot of sunlight and, therefore, heat.

Installing eco-friendly systems for your home is also a smart idea. Solar panels create clean, renewable energy that doesn’t harm the environment and which can help reduce or even eliminate your electric bill (small wind turbines can do the same).  

Water catchment systems are spectacular eco-friendly solutions, especially for areas where water shortages can be a big problem. You can create a system that uses rainwater to feed your toilets, with your home’s standard water supply acting as backup. If this doesn’t seem like an option for you, you can still set up a water catchment system outside using a rain barrel that collects water from your roof via the gutters. This provides you with a supply of water for your garden/yard and helps reduce the amount of groundwater pulled out of aquifers.

Eco-Friendly Solutions – Home Practices:

The things we do in our homes often have an impact on the environment, even if we don’t realize it. Take a moment and really think about how much you might waste in your home regarding water, electricity, and various materials. Do you leave the water running while scrubbing dishes or brushing your teeth? Are you leaving lights on or standing with the fridge open all of the time?  

Even how many paper towels, toilet paper, and other disposable items we use ends up having some impact on the environment. Just take a look at your household cleaning products, and you’re sure to find a bevy of chemicals that would certainly be harmful to any ecosystem, and probably aren’t that great for you and your family. Make the switch to cleaning products that don’t use the same harsh chemicals, and find cleaning solutions you can make yourself at home from trustworthy products.

Go green ideas for home can start with storage solutions. They can even have a positive or negative environmental effect. Start paying attention to where products are manufactured, as the greater the distance between the manufacture point and your local store, the more pollution that’s going to be involved.  

Purchase used plastic storage containers for your basement, attic, and garage, rather than going out and buying something new. You can find great used plastic containers online: a purchase that means you’re reusing a product and reducing the amount of energy used to create something new, as well as reducing the amount of material likely to end up in a landfill or floating around out in the ocean.

Business Essentials – Setting Up Your Commercial Space

So you’re about to open up your own business or set up a new location – congratulations!  Getting things up and going for a commercial venture can be tiring and stressful, but, don’t worry: You’re in luck.  Rather than have to deal with trial and error situations or have to deal with a bunch of research and run-around, here you’ll get an all-inclusive look at some of the top business organization methods to help make your business venture a success.

From sales floors, business stockrooms, warehouse organization, to setting up industrial facilities, we’ll cover a wide range of easy storage solutions. These will help you set up your space and get it ready for efficient, quality-driven productivity.

Sales Floor:

How you set up and organize your sales floor will obviously have a lot to do with the sort of products that you’re selling.  If you’re going to be focusing more on apparel, then you definitely want plenty of racks that you can hang clothes on and a bulk supply of clothes hangers.  Instead of relying completely on clothing racks, though, consider creating sections that feature shelving units for folded clothes, as this helps to give more dimension to a space and keep it from feeling monotonous.  

If you can create various zones where you display merchandise in multiple ways, then this can help create a sense of “product plenty,” where customers go through your store and leave with the feeling that you offer a lot of varied products, even if you actually don’t.  

Pay particular attention to key sightline areas, such as endcaps (the areas at the end of aisles), areas near windows, and zones where people may tend to congregate, such as waiting in line to check out or to use a fitting room.  These areas should display your hot-ticket items (the things you really want to call attention to and sell). 

Stockrooms and Warehouses:

While displays are extremely important on the sales floor, stockrooms and warehouse organization are absolutely vital for day to day efficiency. Even if you’re running a warehouse that acts as a transport or storage facility for different products, having a space that’s organized will increase productivity and reduce costs.  

When you have a space that’s poorly organized, time is inevitably wasted looking for things, while inventory, tools, and equipment are more likely to get lost, damaged, or even stolen.  In these spaces, you’ll want to invest in some industrial grade storage.  Plastic pallets that are also stackable are great options for storing bulk supplies, and they tend to last longer than wooden pallets.  

Plastic storage bins – also stackable – and nesting totes are also great options.  These allow you to keep items separated and labeled, providing you the ability to quickly find what you’re looking for and to keep track of inventory.  When purchasing easy storage solutions for these spaces, focus on things that feature vertical elements, as it’s more advisable to go up with your storage in order to free up as much floor space as possible, in turn allowing you to store more merchandise or equipment. Large wire baskets would be perfect for these spaces, even out on the sales floor, as they allow for bulk storage and usually feature wheels that make it easy to move them from location to location.

Industrial Facilities:

Like warehouse organization, factories and other industrial or mass production facilities require a great deal of careful setup.  You’re going to want to make sure that your processes flow in an efficient manner, and that equipment is placed in areas that are ideal for their operation purposes.  Try to keep equipment that requires cooling or access to specific sources of power close to where these elements are supplied, as this cuts down on how much you have to spend to run piping, ductwork, etc.  

Consider purchasing some stack racks, as these provide great storage and work stations ,while also maintaining neatness, through their ability to stack or nest on top of one another when not in use.  

Depending on the types of materials you’re working with, you may consider metal or plastic storage bins and other easy storage solutions for your space.  Metal is a great option if you’re looking for something that’s durable, especially for operations or storage needs where plastic may not hold up to the job.  

If you’re dealing with a lot of tools and equipment that won’t be a worry for plastic – unlike chemicals that could damage them – then plastic would probably be a good bet, due to it being lighter and often cheaper.  Plastic storage containers tend to be a little easier to move and require less upkeep (no worries about rust).

Kiss Your Clutter Goodbye – Fantastic Storage Solutions for Every Home

Big or small, our homes seem to be constantly on the verge of spilling over with stuff.  This isn’t necessarily a problem with materialism, but rather one with a lack of adequate storage.  Small home are notorious for lacking in closet space and other usable storage zones, but even large homes can feature definite areas where stuff just seems to spill over, somehow consistently multiplying in the night – or so it seems.  Clutter isn’t something anyone should have to deal with, so get ready to see the last of your disorganized days and say hello to the storage solutions of your dreams.  No matter what space you need to tackle, here you’ll find a bevy of storage solutions for your home to turn around even the most cluttered, aggravating spaces.

Love at First Sight:

When you first walk into your home, the first thing you should feel is love for the space you’ve just entered.  A home is a sanctuary of sorts, so the last thing that you, your family, or guests should encounter is a nightmarish catastrophe as soon as you walk in.  Of all of the clutter issues in a home, the front entry is probably at the top of the list.  Finding a space for coats, shoes, book-bags, and all kinds of miscellaneous items like keys, phones, and the like, can be fairly overwhelming.  To surmount this feeling, let’s check out a few things that can be implemented in practically every home.

BookcasesThese may seem like odd storage solutions for your home, but it really works. You can purchase or even make a bookcase, painting it a light color to help it recede and the entry space feel more spacious.  Rather than put in all of the shelves, consider leaving a larger opening at the top where you can screw in hangers for coats and book-bags, while leaving the bottom open for shoes and stacked storage, such as plastic containers.  You could get a couple of plastic organizer bins or even wire baskets, and then spray paint them a fun color.  Even consider painting on a stencil to the plastic containers to give them a more personal, customized look while creating a clutter free home.

Small ClosetsRethink a small closet for a more efficient use of space.  Take off the door and give the inside of the closet a fresh coat of paint.  Install shelving, hooks, and even sliding drawers, along with storage containers.  Rather than have to look at shoes, fit them into containers that can slide out or have small doors placed on the bottom portion of the closet to keep shoes neatly tucked away.

A Chef-Worthy Pantry:

Pantries can become a complete mess in any home, where finding just what you’re looking for can turn into a nerve-wracking scavenger hunt.  Some pantries feature cabinets, but open shelving may be a more practical solution.  You may think here that this just means all of the clutter will be more visible, but having open shelving creates a little psychological effect: Since you have to look at it, you’ll tend to feel more inclined to keep it organized.  

Plus, this eliminates the hassle of looking through cabinets for things, since you can see precisely what’s sitting where. For a clutter free home, use clear plastic containers, or glass that’s clear or colorful, to store dried goods, and then use plastic bins or wire baskets to keep other essentials in.  Baskets may look cute in magazines, but they’re harder to clean, whereas plastic bins feature smooth surfaces that are easy to wipe down, and wire baskets could just be dipped in the sink.  Plus, with plastic containers and wire baskets, you can easily attach labels that help you remain organized.

Garages and Workshops:

Having a clutter free home doesn’t mean just piling items in the garage! Keeping tools and gardening utensils, as well as all of the odds and ends for home and auto organized is a true must in any home.  You never want to find yourself in a situation where you need to tackle a project, and you end up spending most of your time looking for the things you’ll need to do it.  

Stacking totes and insulated plastic containers are great options for garage and workshop spaces, especially if these zones aren’t climate controlled.  Stacking totes are great options simply for the fact that you can create vertical storage zones that help to free up valuable floor space, leaving you with more usable square footage.  For these areas, consider looking for some industrial quality containers, especially those that are used and in good condition, as you’ll save a good deal of money this way.

Why Companies Are Switching to Metal Pallets

Mention the word pallet, and the image that most comes to mind is a wooden flatbed, of sorts, on a warehouse floor. A pallet is a structural foundation used to hold and ship large bundles of items, and it comes in a variety of materials, such as wood, plastic, and metal. It is an essential link in the global supply chain. 

By 2017, it is estimated there will be almost 10 million shipping pallets in global circulation. Needless to say, the material used to construct the pallets and how often they are reused will have an enormous impact on budgets, the environment and the needs of many industries.  

Metal pallets are usually made of aluminum or stainless steel. They are the strongest and most durable pallets on the market. They are heavier than wood pallets and usually have a higher initial cost. They meet USDA and FDA cleanliness standards and are part of the growing green business trends.  

Why Metal?

In a time of economic and environmentally conscious awareness metal or aluminum, pallets are the perfect solution for warehouse and shipping needs. They offer an excellent alternative to the traditional wood or plastic options, and they are a better return on your investment.

Usage of metal pallets has significantly increased over recent years, especially in industries requiring transportation of heavy goods. Catering businesses are also participating in these green business trends due to easy sanitation. Some benefits of metal pallets are:

  • Weather resistant and do not warp or rot
  • They are fire resistant
  • They are stronger
  • Reusable indefinitely
  • Maintenance free
  • Easily sanitized and appropriate for food and chemical industries 
  • Improved sustainability with no performance constraints
  • No insect infestation
  • Lower costs over their lifetime
  • Longer lifespan
  • Withstand extremes in temperatures
  • Do not splinter like wood pallets

Environmental Impact

From an economic point of view, the lifecycle of cleaning, disinfecting, durability, and recyclability, these cost less than wood or plastic pallets.

  • Metal pallets have a positive environmental impact because they last longer than pallets made from other materials.
  • They are stronger and can transport or store larger amounts of a product, so the number of pallets needed is less, which ultimately means fewer to dispose of. 
  • More product can be shipped on the metal pallet, so transportation is less frequent, and vehicle emissions are lowered and air quality is improved. Your carbon footprint is reduced. 
  • Metal pallets have a lifespan of around 15 years, and they are extremely durable, whereas wood pallets, for example, are used for a short period of time before being discarded in a landfill. 
  • They are 100% recyclable. 
  • They can be sold to scrap metal dealers at the end of their lifecycle. 

Economic Impact 

  • The most significant economic impact on a company using metal pallets is the ability to reuse the pallets, therefore, reducing procurement of new pallets. 
  • Metal pallets can be adjusted for size, so it is unnecessary to purchase different sizes. 
  • Freight costs are reduced because of the durability of the pallets and the increased return load density.
  • Insurance premiums are lowered because metal pallets are fireproof. 
  • Less money is spent on repairing broken pallets and disposing of metal pallets.
  • They withstand extremes in temperatures so do not need special climatizing.  
  • There is no costly heat treatment or certification. 
  • Electrical costs are reduced because of metal conduction.
  • Protect inventory from damage.

Sanitation & Safety 

Sanitation is one of the main reasons metal pallets have become so popular in several industries. Wood pallets are less hygienic and absorb moisture, harboring germs. Plastic pallets harbor bacteria in scratches, which can be costly to sterilize. 

  • Has a smooth and polished surface which is dirt and bacteria resistant.
  • Use hot water and detergent to clean. 
  • Is corrosion resistant. 
  • Has visible parts and no cracks to hold debris. 
  • Seldom breaks and is easy to repair. 
  • Easy to decontaminate. 
  • Fire resistant,  so there is less risk of fires. 

Final Thoughts

When you walk into any warehouse, manufacturing, or retail facility, it is hard to miss the pallets strewn around. This simple piece of warehouse equipment attracts a lot of attention, and often for the wrong reasons, such as broken pallets and spoiled inventory. 

Many companies are introducing metal pallets an alternative to wood or plastic options because of the improved impact on their bottom line, as well as environmental and safety improvements. The characteristics that shippers prioritize will ultimately dictate pallet preference. Certain industries may favor one type of pallet material over another. 

With so many pallet options to consider, diligent shippers, warehouse management, and other industries can find the best match for their organization to help keep their company operating efficiently and economically. In the long run, following green business trends will not only cut costs, but cut waste as well!   

The Different Types of Pallet Trucks

Pallet trucks are generally the workhorse in any warehouse. Some of our tips for warehouse workers will help run the facility more efficiently. Save time and money by determining which types of pallet trucks will best fit your business needs.

Hand Pallet Truck

Although a hand truck is very basic, it is certainly a useful piece of equipment. Controlled manually, a hand pallet truck carries heavy loads from one location to another with a minimum of human effort. A hand pallet truck’s forks are placed under the item being moved, with the jack then lifting the object. The operator navigates the truck by the handle to transport the item to its new location. 

Various models provide assistance for making any moving job easier. Low profile trucks are helpful for moving very low pallets or crates, and trucks with longer forks are perfect for handling much longer items. An assortment of weight capabilities also exists for moving regular-sized to heavier loads.

Hand trucks are very convenient since they are small and lightweight. They can easily fit in the back of a pick-up truck or box van, and are perfect for use in tight spaces where lift height is not essential.

High Lift Truck

These types of pallet trucks are constructed to lift pallets to a practical and safe working height. This enables employees to handle items without needing to constantly bend and lift the items from floor level. High lift trucks can help alleviate or reduce muscular discomfort or injuries to employees on the job. They can also provide enormous assistance to workers on assembly lines and packing processors. 

Weighing Scale Truck

A scale on this pallet truck indicates the weight of the items being moved. This function is helpful in numerous situations, permitting objects to be weighed whenever required. A useful piece of equipment for busy factory floors and loading bays, this pallet truck fulfills a very specific function. 

Manual Stacker

This piece of equipment differs from a pallet truck since it takes functionality further by providing moving pallets, along with lift assistance. Since manual stackers make lifting much easier, they can be considered a less expensive option to a forklift. Their smaller size makes this device ideal to use in size-limited warehouses or loading areas where they are needed to lift items onto vehicles or into pallet stacking for off-ground storage.

Electric Walk Behind

This piece of equipment is the battery-powered form of the hand pallet truck. It is a small machine, approximately double the size of a hand pallet truck, with lifting ability of typically 4,500 pounds to 6,000 pounds.

The advantage of using an electric walk behind truck is the mechanical support for raising and driving the truck. By pressing a button, the operator can raise and lower a load, as the machine contains a drive wheel to assist in transferring the load. There is no need for the operator to pull the load and machine, or to pump the handle manually to lift the weight.

Either an onboard battery pack or industrial battery provides power to this truck. Disadvantages, however, are batteries need regular recharging, and the machine consists of more moving parts, which require more maintenance than the manual truck.  

Rider Pallet Truck

This machine is an electric walk behind with the added feature of a riding platform. As opposed to having to walk behind the truck, the operator steps onto a platform on the pallet truck and rides along. This feature allows the rider pallet truck a better range for moving loads longer distances. It is also battery-powered with an onboard industrial battery.

Disadvantages to using a rider pallet truck are that it has an awkward posture and exposes the operator to possible hazards. Since this machine weighs several thousand pounds, it can easily cause damage to adjacent structures or cause injury. These trucks are very popular and used on a daily basis, but they can be dangerous machines due to the way the operator is situated and exposed on the end of the machine.

Center Rider

This pallet truck is built similar to the rider pallet truck, but has the extra benefit of being safer to use and is better ergonomically designed. It allows the operator to look completely forward or backward instead of sideways as on a regular rider pallet truck. It is a much better machine for traveling longer and mainly straight distances. Since it can be slightly tougher to turn than a rider pallet truck, it operates better in areas where the operator mostly drives in a straight line.

Counterbalanced Walker Stacker

The jack on this machine is able to reach up to eight feet off the ground. All other pallet trucks mentioned have lift capabilities of not more than approximately eight inches. This stacker runs electrically, and contains a substantial chassis and lifting pole. It prevents tipping over by use of the counterweight of the industrial battery, equipment elements, and steel construction.

Some tips for warehouse workers – stacker machines are smaller and more economical than ride-on counterbalanced forklifts. It is a terrific choice for lifting pallets onto racks or moving machines in areas such as small storerooms and machine shops.

Walker Straddle Stacker

Very similar to the counterbalanced stacker, this machine is equipped with outrigger attachments to prevent it from tipping over when lifting a load. This machine has a smaller track than the counterbalanced stacker, but has comparable lifting abilities and capacity. Straddle stackers are also available with a reaching carriage that permits for use in narrow aisles.