Staples – a study in sustainability

by FM Media
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Business product e-commerce retailer Staples has laid down the gauntlet to distribution facility managers to match its highly eco-friendly operations.

The 53,000 square metre Staples Distribution Centre in Erskine Park, NSW, stores over 60,000 products and handles 80,000 parcels each week. To try to minimise its ecological footprint, the company has put in place a number of initiatives, including:

  • The use of manual cart picking, which Staples says uses less power compared to traditional automation and conveyors
  • Shipping cartons are made from 100 percent recycled board
  • Air pillows are made from 100 percent biodegradable plastic film
  • 87 percent of the power used on site is from natural gas generators, and
  • The use of translucent sheets for 22 percent of the roof.

In addition, a number of eco-friendly features have been incorporated into the 5 Star Green Rating building’s design. These include a five-perimeter eco filtration garden to filter groundwater and the collection and storage of rainwater from the expansive roof.

“Our Distribution Centre is such a large facility, so we need to ensure that we have processes in place to ensure our operation runs smoothly and effectively with as little impact on the environment as possible,” says George Zalitis, vice president Supply Chain (AU & NZ), Staples.

“Where we can, we compact and recycle materials such as paper, cardboard and metal strapping. On average we recycle approximately 12.6 tonnes of cardboard per fortnight and 1.5 tonnes of plastic per week. There are also segregation bins for waste in our kitchens and canteen areas.”

Staples is also introducing Mobile Data Terminal technology as the next step in reducing its carbon footprint and eliminating paper shipping documentation.


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