Is Your Forklift Safe for the Environment? Here's How to Find Out


What's the Environmental Impact of Your Forklift?

Your forklifts are essential to keeping your operation running smoothly day-to-day, but what impact are they having on the future? Like just about any machine or material used on a daily basis, forklifts have a significant effect on the environment.

The fuel source, construction, and maintenance schedule all play a big role in the environmental impact of your forklifts. Want to know more about how to ensure your forklifts are as environmentally friendly as possible? Read on to learn more!

The Environmental Impact of Different Fuel Types

The type of fuel your forklift runs on has a big effect on whether or not your forklift is considered eco-friendly. While certain types of fuel produce more CO2 emissions than others, there's no one "best" type of fuel.

Each fuel has its pros and cons. The manner in which you use your forklift often has a bigger impact on the overall sustainability than the fuel itself. Here are the three most common types of fuel for forklifts to help you decide which fuel type is best for you.  

Electric Powered Forklift

Electricity is often the most environmentally friendly type of fuel. Electric forklifts are one of the most common types of forklifts used in a variety of industries. They're an especially common choice for use indoors. 

In order to be truly environmentally friendly, the electricity used to power the forklifts should come from clean and renewable sources.

On the downside, electric forklifts are often the most expensive type of forklift. They also may not be suited for heavy lifting, especially on rough terrain. 

Propane Powered Forklift

Propane is considered a clean energy source, and it offers more power than electric. Propane does produce emissions but much less than diesel and gasoline. 

Diesel Powered Forklift

Diesel provides a lot of power best suited for heavy lifting and demanding environments. However, diesel fuel produces the most CO2 emissions. For this reason, diesel forklifts shouldn't be used indoors where the exhaust could be harmful to employees' health. 

In order to reduce the environmental impact of using diesel, look for forklifts with advanced emission reduction technology and superior fuel-efficiency. The more fuel-efficient your diesel forklift is, the less pollution it will produce over its lifetime.

It's true for whatever type of fuel you choose: the less fuel you consume, the more environmentally friendly your operation is. Try to reduce unnecessary use of machinery whenever possible, and don't leave forklifts running for long periods of time.  

Invest in Quality Products to Reduce Waste 

When shopping for a new forklift, the most environmentally friendly option will be sturdy and long-lasting. This might require a higher upfront investment, but a good quality forklift will last for years. 

When a forklift features high-quality construction and reliable parts, it cuts down on the waste produced over time. Parts need to be replaced less frequently, and you won't have to scrap your old machine and purchase a new one every few years. 

Forklifts made with sustainability in mind should have parts that are easy to replace without affecting other systems. This will keep your forklift up and running and reduce the expense and waste of repairs. 

Whenever possible, look for forklifts made with recyclable and recycled materials. Research the production processes of forklift suppliers, and try to buy from companies with a commitment to green manufacturing practices

Keep up with Regular Maintenance of your Forklift

Keeping your forklift well-maintained is the simplest way to make sure it's running as efficiently as possible. When your forklift is running efficiently, you greatly reduce your environmental impact. 

Regular oil changes are crucial to the health of your forklift's engine. Allowing engine oil to become dirty will cause wear on the engine that can result in poor performance and possible breakdown. 

Be sure to inspect and clean the battery regularly, as well. Proper battery maintenance will ensure your battery lasts longer. Changing batteries less frequently can greatly reduce waste. 

Make sure you don't overlook the tires. Maintaining the proper tire pressure will help ensure you're getting the best fuel efficiency possible. 

Consider using fleet management systems or software to keep track of your regular maintenance schedules. Fleet management or Planned Maintenance is especially helpful for operations with many machines to service. 

Consider Renting

If possible, renting a forklift rather than buying one could be the more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective option. Renting a forklift can help your business cut down on the usage of the forklift overall. 

Renting also helps make routine maintenance easier. Many forklift rental services will schedule routine maintenance for you to keep your machine running in tip-top shape.  

Keep Your Workplace Safe and Clean

While it's important to consider how your forklift usage impacts the larger environment, you should also make sure that your immediate area is as eco-friendly as possible. This will benefit the health and safety of your employees and your operation overall. 

Be aware of issues such as noise pollution and exhaust in poorly ventilated areas. Exposure to excessive noise can permanently damage your employees' hearing. Breathing in exhaust fumes can cause many respiratory illnesses. 

Choose a forklift that's well-suited to the environment in which it will be used. Make sure the people who will be working closely with forklifts are well trained and have the proper protective equipment whenever necessary. 

Ready to Improve Your Environmental Impact?

Whatever type of forklift you choose, there are many simple ways to make your forklift usage more eco-friendly. You can greatly reduce your environmental impact by choosing high-quality, responsibly manufactured equipment. And you should never underestimate the power of routine maintenance in keeping your forklift running as efficiently as possible.

Are you interested in finding a new forklift? Or maybe you could use some tips about the best way to maintain the one you've got? Feel free to contact us today to find out how we can help.