5 Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption and Waste During the Shipping Process
Think of the shipping industry as a vast ocean of commerce, stretching borders, facilitating trade, and providing people and businesses with everything they need – from raw materials to food to electronics.
Behind the big waves of commerce lies a hidden cost our planet has been paying. The shipping industry may be the most important segment of global trade, but it’s also one of the biggest industries casting a dark shadow on the world's future.
In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of energy and waste conservation in the shipping process and share five practical ways to get started.
Identifying Energy-Wasting Activities in the Shipping Process
You can’t improve if you don’t know where you currently stand. Start by conducting a comprehensive waste audit to determine the types and amount of waste your business regularly generates. Map out your entire shipping process, from procurement to delivery. Your shipping routes, fuel usage, electricity consumption, and packaging waste are valuable data metrics that should be recorded.
For example, you can compare your fuel and energy usage with industry standards, identify areas where your operations are using it excessively, and find ways to reduce it. And by monitoring the amount of waste generated from packaging, you can identify areas to reduce it by transitioning to more sustainable packaging options.
How to Reduce Energy Consumption and Waste
Once you know your biggest culprits, you can start implementing practices to address them. Here are five ways to reduce energy use and prevent waste:
1. Optimize Shipping Routes
In the race for fast and overnight deliveries, most companies forget how these convenient shipping methods can affect the environment. But don’t worry - delivering items quickly while reducing your carbon footprint is possible. Optimizing your shipping routes based on shipment type, delivery schedule, areas, and timing can significantly reduce fuel consumption and emissions. By mapping out the most efficient ways and reducing the distance your fleets travel, you can drastically minimize the fuel needed to transport goods.
2. Use Energy-Efficient Vehicles
Gas-powered vehicles have a significant environmental footprint. Hybrid and electric cars consume less or no fuel and emit fewer emissions, making them a more sustainable option. The problem is, switching to an electric or hybrid fleet is a significant undertaking. Working with a third-party logistics provider can be a great way to access these energy-efficient vehicles without investing in a new fleet.
3. Re-evaluate and Optimize Packaging
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that plastic and other packaging waste make up around 30% of total waste in the US each year. Reusable, recyclable, or compostable packaging can help eliminate this waste. You can also switch to lighter and smaller packaging to reduce the weight of shipments, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
4. Work With Partners that Put Sustainability First
Work with environmentally conscious vendors with the necessary infrastructure - route optimization, energy-efficient vehicles, and sustainable packaging - to support your business's sustainability goals. To minimize your environmental impact, consider sourcing raw materials from local vendors whenever possible.
5. Encourage Digital Communication and Technology
Shipping can be a complex process and often involves a large amount of paperwork. You can reduce the paper waste associated with shipping by encouraging digital communication and documentation (such as invoices, shipping labels, and receipts). The right technology can also provide insights that help uncover other areas of your business that are producing unnecessary waste.
Improving the Planet (and Your Bottom Line!)
Reducing energy consumption and waste is a win-win for the plant AND your business. Not only are you doing your part to protect the environment, but you can also save money on transportation and packaging costs, improve customer loyalty, and boost your brand reputation.
Becoming a more sustainable business doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. With the right logistics partner, you can easily implement systems to monitor your environmental impact and start making a difference today.
Ziing: The First Choice for Companies that Care About Sustainability
At Ziing, we’re passionate about providing mindful, data-driven logistics solutions. What does this look like in practice? Routes that are optimized to reduce emissions, insights that guide continuous improvement, and quick yet sustainable last-mile delivery that gives customers the experience they desire.
Our sustainability initiatives include the following:
- Switching to more efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicles.
- Using software that helps us balance our loads and calculate our carbon footprint.
- Implementing the 4R strategy: Reduce, Recycle, Reuse, and Recover.
Ready to join forces with a logistics partner that’s as committed to protecting this planet as you are? We’d love to hear from you.