Increasing Sustainability at Distribution Centers

Consumer Goods, Retail, Safety & Environment, Sustainability, Warehousing & Distribution Management
April 21, 2015

Green WarehousingWhen most shippers and transportation managers consider sustainable practices in the trucking and logistics industry, they envision vehicles running on advanced fuels or companies pursuing earth-friendly practices over the road.

Yet, along with its successful green trucking initiatives, including low emission vehicles and conversion to natural gas, Ryder has found an equally impressive solution right in the distribution center: a commitment to sustainable practices and recycling of packing materials and other re-usable items.

Ryder’s packaging, warehouse and distribution facility in Moreno Valley, California, in 2009 became one of the first facilities nationwide to earn ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) Program compliance. Today, its Universal Waste & Hazardous Waste and Energy Usage Reduction programs deliver significant resource and energy conservation, reducing the customer’s carbon footprint and serving as a model for best practices in the industry.

The stream of materials diverted from area landfills is significant. Last year alone, the team at Moreno Valley prepared and shipped for recycling more than two million pounds of packaging and materials. These included baled clear plastic, loose and baled cardboard, egg cartons, loose plastic film, and various other materials.

Beyond packaging materials, other recyclables,  such as office paper, aluminum cans and scrap metal from equipment, are sent for recycling. Specific partnerships address other common yet overlooked products, includinglight bulbs, traditional and lithium ion batteries, scrapped electronics and other e-waste.

In fact, the volume of packaging materials and other qualifying items shipped for recycling exceeds the state of California’s stringent recycling requirements.

The effort has a neutral impact on the bottom line. Money generated from recycling buy-backs covers the cost of labor to separate materials.

Resource management touches other facility operations as well. Energy consumption and the facility’s carbon footprint both are reduced by prohibiting truck idling in truck court, turning off lights Friday after shift and using motion sensors when possible, installing skylights to reduce the need for daytime electrical lighting, applying energy saver mode for computers and monitors, and powering down packaging equipment when not in use.

Ryder’s Moreno Valley facility has become a showcase of ISO 14001 compliance in action. At least once per month, prospective customers tour the facility, which also is ISO 9001 & ISO 13485 certified for non-medical and medical devices. Ryder references its capabilities and compliance at Moreno Valley during new business proposals from prospective customers requiring such standards.

Moreno Valley is one of several facilities Ryder operates with significant recycling initiatives. Its return center in Columbus, Ohio, disassembles and segregates various materials for recycling.

More than serving as examples of effective recycling, such industry-leading sustainability practices cast a favorable public light on those companies that exhibit environmental stewardship through environmentally sound manufacturing and logistics practices. Moreover, improved resource management and a commitment to corporate responsibility help Ryder and its customers achieve greater materials and workplace efficiency and heightened profitability – on Earth Day and all year long.


Written By Rudy Silva, Director Customer Logistics

Rudy Silva is Director of Customer Logistics for Ryder System Inc. He is responsible for multiple facilities totaling 900,000 square feet of distribution and packaging operations, and 750 employees who each year package 22 million units and ship over 50 million units. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from The University of Phoenix and has attended various leadership programs.


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