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Environmental

Seamlessly Transitioning to Electric Power for Forklifts

By 2014, over half of the forklifts in the United States had already made the shift to electric power. Only 36 percent of the U.S. forklift market stuck with fossil fuels that year. Reluctance to make the switch to a greener, more cost-effective source of motive power usually boils down to two things: anxiety about higher up-front costs and fear of productivity losses during the transition. However, nearly every warehouse, big or small, can join the 64 percent of forklift users who have already made the move to battery power. The key is to work with a provider that can get your facility outfitted for electric power without having to shut everything down for installation. Efficiency Gains from Forklift Battery…more

TCLP Analysis: How Environmental Regulators Test Your Battery Wastewater

If you’re washing your forklift batteries (and you are washing them, right?) then you’re also producing hazardous waste. Battery wash water contains traces of sulfuric acid and toxic metals that the EPA regulates heavily. In order to avoid enormous fines and possibly even criminal charges, every facility manager should understand exactly how the EPA goes about determining whether your wastewater — and any byproducts of the treatment process — can be considered “hazardous waste.” So what exactly does the EPA mean when they use the term? Regulators consider a waste product “hazardous” if it exhibits one or more of these four characteristics: Ignitability. A substance is considered unacceptably flammable if it has a flashpoint that’s below 140° (60°). Corrosivity. Acids…more

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Compliance for Forklift Fleets

What does your forklift fleet have to do with federal waste disposal laws? It could be more than you think. If you run a fleet of electric forklifts, you probably also follow a detailed maintenance plan for your batteries. That plan should include regular washing, and the water you use to wash your batteries is a form of hazardous waste. In 1976, Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; that law has a lot to say about how you deal with your battery wastewater. Here are the basics. The RCRA considers waste to be “hazardous” if it has certain characteristics, including ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, and/or toxicity. It’s that last one that forklift fleet managers should be concerned about. Water…more

5 Facts You Should Know About the RCRA ‘Cradle-to-Grave’ Law

When you wash your forklift batteries, the used water becomes a whole new legal entity: hazardous waste. Contaminated with acid and heavy metals, that battery wash water is now subject to the complex regulations laid out in the EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The most famous element of the RCRA is Subtitle C, which establishes controls for hazardous waste, from generation to disposal. This exhaustive waste management system requires generators to document forklift battery wastewater, allowing EPA officials to track its transportation and eventual fate. Subtitle C of the RCRA is also called the “Cradle-to-Grave” rule, which has ominous overtones. As long as your facility complies with the federal regulations, though, you can avoid corrupting the municipal water…more

Why Wastewater Disposal Is An Essential Part of Forklift Battery Maintenance

To keep your forklift batteries running efficiently, you have to wash them periodically. But maintenance procedures don’t stop there — you must also make provisions to safely dispose of runoff from the washing process. Failing to do so could subject your business to massive EPA fines, or even land you in jail. Facility managers who are new to electric equipment sometimes overlook this crucial final step to the peril of the entire operation, as well as the municipal groundwater. If you’re not sure what to do with your industrial wastewater, it’s time to make a plan. You have two basic options: 1. Outsourcing Your Wastewater Disposal Needs You can hire a 3rd party wastewater disposal contractor. These companies cart away…more

Protecting Against Battery Spills for a More Eco-Friendly Facility

Rechargeable forklift batteries are the greenest source of motive power available. Electric forklifts produce far fewer greenhouse gasses than lift trucks powered by internal combustion, and they eliminate the need for engine fluid changes. Most importantly, they’re safer for workers and almost entirely recyclable — in fact, most of the lead used in forklift batteries is recycled. Still, the amount of electrolyte required to provide clean power to your fleets can become an ecological risk when handled improperly. While lead acid batteries are a safe power source, battery spills require immediate attention, and it’s important to limit risks with appropriate preventative measures. A few simple precautions can help to prevent disaster so that your operation can enjoy the benefits of…more

Understanding LEED Certification and Forklift Battery Rooms

With the introduction of 2013’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Version 4 (LEED v4), it is less complex than ever for U.S. warehouses and distribution centers to obtain certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certification provides numerous operational benefits, including lower energy costs and eligibility for governmental incentive programs. Measures of sustainability such as LEED certification are also a priority for clients. A 2013 study from HEC Paris, a French business school, reports that 93 percent of surveyed companies consider sustainable procurement to be “critical,” or at least “important.” Ninety-one percent of the multinational companies surveyed weigh social responsibility when choosing their logistics suppliers. Existing facilities can acquire certification through the LEED v4 Building Operations and Maintenance…more

Going Green in the Lift Truck Battery Room

The first Earth Day was celebrated 45 years ago. In honor of this global environmental movement, BHS is focusing our April blogging on going green in the lift truck battery room. Our blogs touch on reducing energy consumption, recycling wastewater, preventing acid spills, LEED certification, and more. The blogs will also point you toward various BHS products that can help your facility level-up environmental friendliness. Check out our latest video, “Going Green in the Lift Truck Battery Room” for an overview of this month’s blog topics.

Building a Green Warehouse with Better Battery Handling Practices

Environmental sustainability in warehousing is more than a socially conscious trend; it is quickly becoming an industry-wide mandate. Green warehousing has reached the mainstream, as is evident from recent sustainable storage facility commitments from major corporations such as Walmart Canada and Goodyear. Energy efficiency consultants often focus on the most visible ways to reduce consumption, emphasizing high-efficiency lighting, solar panels and rainwater management. These are all great ways to save money and reduce your operation’s carbon footprint, but given that battery charging comprises around one tenth of a warehouse’s total electricity costs, reducing energy use through innovative battery handling equipment is an important — and often overlooked — part of any green initiative. Here are a few tips to enhance…more

Green Battery Washing Practices for an Eco-Friendly Storage Facility

Of all the forklift battery maintenance tasks required to keep a fleet running at peak efficiency, battery washing may pose the greatest environmental challenge overall. Battery wash wastewater is heavily contaminated with a variety of pollutants, including: Sulfuric Acid Lead Copper Rust (Iron Oxide) Particles Dirt and Organic Matter In order to comply with green initiatives (along with federal, state and municipal environmental regulations), every storage facility needs to establish consistent practices for forklift battery wastewater disposal — along with additional practices to contain splash and runoff during washes. The most ecologically friendly option is to clean and recycle all wastewater on site, dramatically reducing water usage while keeping groundwater safe. Why Battery Washing is an Important Maintenance Task If…more