Pallet wrapping innovations reduce plastic use
As with any other company, we are consciously striving to be as eco-friendly as possible in our processes. The team are highly motivated to reduce plastic use whenever possible.
Following on from our earlier warehouse upgrade, our logistics team suggested ways to improve how pallets were wrapped. They knew that the method being used wasn’t ideal. It was a manual process, involving sometimes more than one member of staff at a time to wrap a pallet with plastic sheeting. Especially if many pallets needed wrapping in a short space of time.
A manually-wrapped pallet used an average of 320g of polythene plastic. To make it manageable to wrap the pallets, we were using small hand-held plastic sheet rolls. But even this was hard physical work for the team, especially if they had to wrap many pallets in a shift.
Automation saves the day
In May 2019, we introduced a pallet wrapping machine on a trial basis to see if it would improve efficiencies and reduce plastic use. It certainly did speed up the process, and we’ve been able to reduce the amount of plastic used by 24%. An average pallet wrapped by the machine now uses 245g of plastic.
We then invested in two more machines and had one installed in each of the three main dispatching areas in the warehouse. The whole team have been trained how to use them, so that tasks like this can be done efficiently by anyone, regardless of other activities going on.
The next development will include changing to a more lightweight plastic that is re-inforced with bio-degradable fibres. This will mean that we’re using less plastic and delivering a pallet that is more firmly wrapped. As a result, there will be less risk of the goods on the pallet becoming damaged in transit.
Reduced plastic use
The new lightweight option will use just 108g of plastic per pallet – a whopping 65% less plastic used compared to the original manual wrap method. Our customers will have less plastic to dispose of (you’re welcome) plus we’re buying and using less. Win, win.
The logistics team are enthusiastic about the new process. One team member says about introducing the machine: “Superb, absolutely fantastic, makes my job so much easier.”
Another stated “The best thing that we have ever invested in. It saves time, reduces tiredness and prevents aches and pains in my back and legs. Brilliant!”.
As well as developing an eco-friendly process, we’ve reduced the ongoing cost of buying plastic wrap. Of course, we have needed to buy the large and rather expensive wrapping machines to achieve this, but we’re confident they will soon have paid for themselves.