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INSIGHT - Recycling guru powers Toyota electric forklift fleet with renewable energy

By Cameron Paxton, Director Of Sales, Toyota Material Handling Australia

I have been very impressed to learn that a Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) customer, Smart Recycling, is charging its fleet of electric Toyota 8FBN forklifts using predominately  renewable energy.

Operating from Dandenong South, Victoria, Smart Recycling and its associated businesses annually divert over 50,000 tonnes of waste from landfill and it is one of the state's largest timber pallet recyclers. The business has unlocked the economic potential of our electric forklifts by harvesting the sun’s power and using it to charge his fleet with solar electricity.

Smart Recycling managing director, Ward Petherbridge, says his company provides a net carbon benefit of 14,500 tonnes from timber recycling, alone. The business employs about 40 staff who use Toyota forklifts all day, every day. The site previously relied exclusively on diesel-powered forklifts but after installing 100kW of solar on the depot roof which provides a 'free' source of electricity, Ward harnessed its economic potential by switching to battery-powered Toyota forklifts.

Presently, Smart Recycling has four Toyota 8FBN 2.5-tonne electric forklifts and is about to add another to its fleet. The heart of Smart Recycling's business is reducing energy consumption and waste via efficiency which, hand-in-hand, creates an economic benefit and competitive edge.

Ward says with the transition from diesel to electric Toyota forklifts, the business is saving around $100 per week, per machine, on fuel. He says the solar system is so efficient that the business has paid only a few hundred dollars for electricity over the last couple of years. He expects the solar system to pay itself off in about 3.5 years and has already had Toyota electric forklifts for two years. Once it is paid off, having Toyota electric forklifts makes even more financial sense.

Ward only deals with equipment that has low-footprint credentials and he closely examines the lifecycle of equipment. That ties back to the quality, reliability and durability of our machines, which is a cornerstone of the Toyota Advantage and the reputation we go by.

Some forklifts are built with planned obsolescence, but we at Toyota Material Handling build our forklifts to last a very long time. That in itself makes a significant accumulative difference over the lifecycle of the machine. Ward’s vision extends even beyond the service life of his Toyota electric forklifts. He is focused on the chain of responsibility and the circular economy.

Toyota forklifts are highly recyclable, being mostly steel. Another consideration for him was the recyclability of the batteries that power his electric forklift fleet. The conscious decision made by Smart Recycling to employ Toyota electric forklifts has a present and long-term benefit for the business’ profits, and also makes an exemplary contribution to the planet's wellbeing. Ward points to renewable energy such as industrial solar as being key to such success.


To find out how Toyota Material Handling can add value to your business please contact us for an obligation free site assessment of your premises.

Smart Recycling managing director Ward Petherbridge

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