Green Business Network
It may not be a household name, but Jensa Distribution in Bedford is one of the largest companies in Bedfordshire. Out of its three sites in Bedford, Thurleigh and Clapham, Jensa operates a logistics service that encompasses activities from storage to distribution. It does this for a wide variety of products – from toys to building products, and from sanitary ware to low-grade medicines, such as vitamin pills.
Jensa uses little in the way of heating and minimal lighting for its storage business – most goods only have the requirement that they need to be stored in dry and clean warehouses. Only one warehouse stores low-grade medical products where the temperature needs to be kept between 8 and 20 degrees and this is achieved using temperature-controlled gas heating.
So, when Jensa looked at its environmental impacts, diesel use, waste and packaging were at the top of the list – and these were also the areas where it could potentially make the greatest cost savings. While use of diesel is pretty unavoidable for a distribution business, the company has focused on trying to ensure that vehicles are fully laden for all journeys to make the best use of the fuel that is being used and also to save money on empty lorries going to and from destinations.
But by far the greatest savings and use of innovative approaches have been made in the areas of packaging and waste reduction. Because Jensa runs its own fleet of 20+ vehicles, it is able to use non-standard sized pallets so it is no problem for the company to re-use pallets of all shapes and sizes to transport goods.
"As we use our own lorries to transport goods, there are no problems with pallet sizes so we cannibalise them and remake them, even when they’ve been broken, to fit spaces available or to pack lorries to capacity.” Sales director, Ian Seager
In addition, the company cross shreds all its paperwork and uses it to package toys and other goods, it reuses cardboard boxes to re-pack other goods, while plastic wrap and shrink wrap are also re-used to afford additional packaging protection for breakable or fragile goods, such as porcelain.
In fact, porcelain goods that are broken are one of the few waste streams from Jensa currently going to landfill – and that’s only because health and safety issues with the sharp edges that result from breakages prevent them from doing anything else. Waste contractors have been sourced to recycle any waste cardboard, polythene, plastic and timber that can’t be re-used elsewhere.
Like many companies that are following the waste hierarchy of eliminate, reduce, reuse and recycle, Jensa recognises that anything going into a landfill skip represents a defeat. “I look at anything in our landfill skips as money down the drain – it costs us not just in terms of disposal but landfill taxes are continually rising and we need to minimise this form of waste as much as possible,” says Ian Seager.