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Minimizing Waste: Truckload Utilization Project Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Use

Have you ever prepared for a family road trip and considered how packing your car full might hurt your gas mileage? You’re not alone. That same basic question a few years back led us to new principles for how we pack our trucks for shipping our products.

Improvements by the Truckload

The best fuel efficiency depends on an intelligent balance of weight and size. To maximize the capacity of our trucks, we completed a year-long Truckload Utilization Project in 2007. What we found changed our truck-packing procedures forever and helped encourage changes within the industry as well.

By stepping back and taking time to look at the data, we realized that a truckload full of lightweight Ziploc® products weighs in far below a truck’s most efficient load target. Liquid products such as Windex® glass cleaner are heavy enough to reach maximum weight while leaving empty space in the trailer.

Armed with this knowledge, we created a system that combines multiple customer orders into one optimally configured truck. We also started using more “day cabs” – small truck cabs for one-day trips, which don’t require the extra weight of a big sleeping compartment. Day cabs are typically 3,000 pounds lighter than standard truck cabs.

By putting these practices to work, in a single 12-month period we eliminated 1,882 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent to making 90 two-person households carbon-neutral. We also used 2,098 fewer trucks and cut fuel use by 168,000 gallons.

Today, smart truckload utilization standards are just part of how we operate. They’ve become second nature, eliminating a significant amount of waste over the years.