Containers used for storage can be destructive to the environment. Plastic containers can take up valuable space in landfills and can leak dangerous chemicals into soil and water. One study, reported on by NPR, showed that 95% of plastic products tested leaked an estrogen-like chemical. Improperly stored hazardous materials can put people's health at risk. There are many options for environmentally friendly storage containers for all types of industrial businesses. Here are some examples.
Instead of traditional plastic storage containers, choose plastic that is biodegradable. This means that once the plastic has been thrown away, it will decompose organically when exposed to bacteria.
There are several types of biodegradable plastic available today that can be used for storage of any items, including food. These containers also eliminate the BPA and other chemicals that can leak into food and water and be toxic to the human body.
Industries storing food and beverages should look into biodegradable plastic.
Tanks for Hazardous Waste
Hazardous materials such as pesticides, chemical cleaners and oil or transmission fluid must be stored in heavy, tightly sealed containers to eliminate the chances that they will leak into the environment. These tanks may be made of steel, concrete or fiberglass. The most popular type of storage container for toxic substances is a 55 gallon metal drum.
Recycled Newspaper Containers
For regular long term storage of dry items, look for boxes and baskets made of recycled newspaper. These containers are highly efficient and can be used for many different purposes.
Containers made from recycled newspapers are also biodegradable and will break down once they are no longer useful. They can also be used for storing plants and can actually be buried in the ground where they will decompose as the plant grows.
Even trash containers can be made from recycled newspaper.
Wood is a good choice for storage of large items or for containers with shelving inside. Some woods like bamboo can be tightly woven into materials resembling heavy fabric. Other strong woods are perfect for crates designed for holding products in warehouses and for shipping.
Wooden crates are more environmentally safe than cardboard, which can be a hazard if it is disposed of improperly. They are also easily reused as firewood or for decorative purposes.
Reusing Containers and Products
When supplies and parts arrive in plastic, cardboard or metal containers, instead of throwing the containers away you can use them to hold other items. Cardboard boxes can be used for paper and other lightweight materials while heavier containers can hold items securely and can be stacked in warehouses.
Natural Packing Materials
Items made of glass or other breakable materials often need to be stored in a container with packing material that will keep the items safe. Styrofoam packing products and bubble wrap are not biodegradable and should always be reused if possible. The best choice is to opt for environmentally friendly packing materials in the first place. Shredded paper and newsprint can protect breakable items, and some companies are now manufacturing packing materials specifically designed to decompose in organic conditions.
You can also think out of the box when choosing materials to provide a soft place to keep fragile items. Real popcorn, shredded coconut and even rice are possibilities.
Reusable Food Containers
Don't choose disposable options for storing food. While disposable packaging may be more convenient, it is not environmentally friendly. Instead pick products that can be washed and used again. This option will also save money.
You can opt for storage containers that are efficient as well as friendly to the environment. Don't allow your industrial storage choices to hurt the earth. Instead choose storage items that will keep the environment healthy and clean.