When you think about industries that are green, trucking is probably not one of the first ones that come to mind. In fact, it would probably be on most people’s list of “least green” industries.
But it may not be fair to make such an assumption about commercial trucking, at least for the future. All it would take is a few simple tweaks to get that industry on board with the best of us.
Three Actions Trucking Companies Can Take
“Today, roughly 70 percent of our consumer goods are shipped via truck, and even the environmental groups that rail hardest against the industry don’t have comprehensive alternatives to offer,” Jesse Hirsch writes for PacificStandard.
“Air transport is too costly. Cargo trains are effective, but limited by narrow shipping routes and dwindling numbers. Similarly, aquatic shipping has its benefits — most overseas imports still arrive by boat — but (at the risk of explaining something most first graders understand) there simply isn’t water everywhere.”
In other words, for better or worse, trucking is going to remain one of the major players in freight transport for the foreseeable future. Since that’s the case, here are three basic things that trucking firms and individual drivers can do to alleviate some of the environmental burdens we all place on the planet.
1. Regular Maintenance
One of the biggest concerns with large trucks is their safety record. Big semi trucks carry a fatality rate of 10.1 deaths per 1,000 vehicles, which is three times higher than the average for all other vehicles.
Although distracted driving and other external factors are part of the reason, the most common cause of large truck incidents is the lack of proper maintenance (especially with brakes). It’s also true that ineffective maintenance is one of the leading contributors to poor fuel efficiency. Proactive maintenance at pre-determined intervals could alleviate both of these issues.
2. Stop Idling
If you visit a truck stop or gas station, you’re apt to notice that many of the rigs in the parking lot are idling in the area; that is, they’re running their engines for no apparent reason. Not only is this costly, but it’s also highly inefficient.
When a truck idles, it can consume a full gallon of fuel per hour. Furthermore, the American Trucking Association reports that one hour of idling per day over a full year results in the equivalent of 64,000 miles in engine wear.
By reducing idle time, trucks could save significant amounts of fuel and lower their impact on the environment.
3. Optimize Routing
Many of the largest trucking companies have already figured this out, but smaller fleets can also benefit from optimized routing. By choosing the shortest, most convenient routes, trucking firms can save fuel and maximize productivity.
“The simplest, most effective way to optimize routing is with GPS vehicle tracking tools,” former fleet supervisor Oswaldo Flores explains. “By locating drivers closest to a certain delivery spot and choosing them to complete the job, or by identifying high-traffic areas for efficient pickups, telematics help fleets maximize their resources and eliminate waste at the same time.”
Along this same line of thinking, drivers could be rewarded for being more efficient. This would encourage better driving habits, and it’s been shown to reduce waste.
Small Strides Produce Big Results
Better technology will solve some problems, but there’s only so much that innovation can do. The onus is ultimately on both trucking companies and individual drivers to make better decisions.
Trucking companies need to invest in proper resources and develop big-picture plans that maximize efficiency. Individual truckers have to improve their driving habits and make smarter choices.
The steps described in this article offer a good starting point, but they certainly aren’t everything that could be done. The sooner the trucking industry gets serious about going green, the more positive change we’ll see.
4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again
As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.
Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.
Jars and Containers
Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.
An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.
Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!
If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!
Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!
These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money
The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.
Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.
Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.
Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale
The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.
Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.
Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI
It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.
Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.
Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.
Implementing green changes without a plan
Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.
Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:
- How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
- How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
- How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
- How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?
The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.
Not considering the benefits of green printing
Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.
Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.
According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:
- They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
- They consume less energy than traditional printers.
- They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.
You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.
Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers
Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.
The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.
You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.
Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.