Every vehicle used in your daily operations affects the environment in some way. While it’s not possible to completely eliminate your environmental impact, understanding your work vehicles and making good choices can significantly reduce your footprint. With that in mind, let’s look at forklifts. Do you know for sure how “green” your forklifts actually are?
Running an environmentally friendly warehouse or outdoor material handling operation encompasses everything from recycling waste to conserving water to optimizing your work vehicles. Forklifts are easy to overlook but can be the deciding factor in your efforts. Here are several key elements to evaluate as you analyze how environmentally friendly your lift truck fleet really is.
Forklifts typically use one of three common power sources: Diesel Fuel, Liquid Propane Gas, or Electricity. Diesel-powered forklifts are typically used in higher-capacity, outdoor applications, due to the longevity and durability of diesel engines in demanding work conditions. However, diesel engines still produce some concerning levels of nitrous oxides, while recent emissions regulations have virtually eliminated the release of carbon dioxide.
Electric forklifts on the other hand are classified as Zero Emission vehicles, deriving their power from a battery. Electric models are becoming increasingly popular, even in many outdoor environments. Best of all, if the electricity used to charge the lift comes from clean sources, your lift truck can be one of the “greenest” pieces of equipment in your fleet! Just remember, you’re essentially purchasing all of your fuel ‘up-front’ in the form of a battery, while your cost of operation will be drastically reduced once it’s put into service.
Propane fuel provides a decent compromise between diesel and electricity. Considered a clean energy source by the EPA, propane produces only a fraction of the emissions they did just a decade ago. While long-term exposure can be problematic, propane fuel is significantly less hazardous than it once was. Businesses that wish to avoid the higher ‘up-front’ of electric forklifts, but perhaps do not have an efficient supply of Diesel fuel, can often find a workable compromise in propane.
Your day-to-day operations have a bigger impact on your forklifts than you may realize. Maintaining your machines obviously plays an important role. Regular battery checks and (where applicable) oil changes, will extend the lift truck’s life and keep it running efficiently, further reducing your environmental impact. Keep your fleet in good working order.
Your warehouse also requires a closer look. Is your forklift model the best fit for your work environment? Unfavorable combinations, like an unregulated diesel truck in a poorly ventilated warehouse, can pose hazards to your employees and the local environment.
Be Environmentally Conscious
Whether it be as insignificant as recycling a candy wrapper or as important as using only ‘clean’ electricity, everything you do in your business can affect the environment for better or worse. It’s up to you. Simply being aware of what factors to consider goes a long way toward improvement.
Contact us to find a new “green” forklift for your work environment.