“Using the knowledge and experience that we developed in other DHL Parcel facilities, we knew exactly what types and volumes of waste streams we could expect,” De Groot explains. “Also, we organised an inspiring brainstorming session early on in the design phase, where together with DHL we considered aspects such as safety, efficient waste movements, and awareness among DHL staff.”
Flexibility and awareness
Based on the company philosophy “Controlling waste”, Milgro is taking control of all waste streams for DHL Parcel. “The advantage of being involved from such an early stage is that we could assign the right equipment to the right place from the get-go,” says De Groot. “For instance, the container for Type A wood is now located under the loading dock, so that workers don’t have to drive long distances with damaged – and thus unstable – pallets.” But Milgro is also capable of offering flexibility in case waste streams and volumes change, and can even anticipate such fluctuations because of its data-driven approach.
A second aspect of the project was to encourage waste separation through visual management, both on the sorting floor and in DHL’s offices. One example of this are ‘droppers’: special bins for paper, coffee cups and residual waste which nudge office workers towards correct use through their shape and colour.
Ready for the future
For over 10 years, Milgro has provided independent waste management for the various business units of DHL, including DHL Parcel. Milgro’s approach, which focuses on profitable sustainability, fits well with DHL’s own sustainability goals, as described in the company’s Go Green program. The new centre in Amsterdam for instance boasts 4700 solar panels, which can provide up to 80% of the facility’s energy demand.
DHL Parcel is growing fast due to a world-wide increase in e-commerce, and is investing heavily in its network of modern sorting centres. The next milestone will be the mega e-commerce sorting centre in Zaltbommel, which is currently being built and which will become even more sustainable. Of course, Milgro will provide its expertise in circular resource management for this location, too.
Photos: Some collection containers in the new DHL facility.
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