Organic Grocery Distributor? 2 Easy Ways To Go Green In Your Warehouse While Saving Money

If you manage or own an organic grocery distribution company, then it is important to operate your business in an eco-friendly way. Not only does keeping your distribution center as "green" as possible showcase the right image to the stores you supply and the owners of the organic brands you carry, it also saves you money. Here are two easy ways to ensure your operations are as eco-friendly as possible by focusing on the equipment you use to transport your groceries. 

1. Switch from Wooden Pallets to Plastic Ones

While it may sound surprising that plastic would be a more eco-friendly alternative to wood in any situation, it is the case when it comes to pallets. Wooden pallets are taking a huge toll on the environment for several reasons. A reason that may not sound so surprising is the fact that the production of new wooden pallets requires new lumber from trees that make up natural territory for animals and play other roles in the environment.

However, the more surprising way they are harming the environment is by transporting small insects and bugs from one area of the country to another and even from country to country when they are used to ship items overseas. This is causing invasive species of insects to be introduced into new environments and taking a toll on their natural balance. Of course most businesses don't intentionally re-use pallets covered in insects, but all it takes is one or two "hitchhikers" being introduced to a new area where they can begin reproducing and wreaking havoc on the ecosystem.

While plastic may not be a natural part of the environment, like wood is, plastic pallets do not attract insects like wooden ones do and they can be recycled. While they cost a bit more upfront, they can save you money over wooden pallets because they are more durable and can be re-used many more times than wooden pallets. 

2. Swap Corrugated Boxes for Reusable Bulk Bins

Cardboard boxes are another item used in abundance in the food distribution industry, and they are taking their own toll on the environment. While they can be recycled, it is always best to choose a reusable option over a recyclable one when it is available. The popular environmental slogan, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," places the word reuse before recycle to reflect this. 

Reusable plastic containers, often called RPCs, including reusable plastic bulk bins, can be used up to 100 times before being recycled. You can also find reusable bulk bins made of stainless steel, which are even more environmentally friendly, durable, and long lasting. 

Aside from being much more environmentally friendly, reusable bulk bins also pose many more advantages to your business when compared to standard cardboard boxes:

  1. They are much stronger and protect the grocery items inside of them well during the shipping process. No more damaged goods! 
  2. They are water-proof and can be sealed tightly with lids, which keeps your grocery items clean and dry when being shipped, even in the worst weather. 
  3. They save you money! While a corrugated box may be much cheaper upfront, since you only use it once, you are virtually wasting cash every time you purchase one. 

If you worry that reusable grocery bins will take up a lot of space in your truck when they are empty and your driver is transporting them back to your facility, then you can choose collapsible RPCs that come with hinges that allow them to be folded up to fit into small spaces when not in use. Another way to ensure that your empty bins don't take up much space in your trucks or distribution center is to choose reusable bulk bins that nest inside of each other when stacked. 

RPCs are approved for food use, and there have never been any issues of food contamination due to their use. However, it is important to sanitize them on a regular basis and follow the food safety protocols created by the Reusable Packaging Association. 

If you own or manage an organic foods distribution center, then take these two small steps to make sure the products you use most on a day-to-day basis are just as environmentally friendly as the organic foods you supply to stores. Contact a company like Garland's, Inc. to purchase bulk bins and go green.