Responsible use of raw materials

Linde Material Handling has particularly high production depth. Almost all core components apart from the engine are manufactured by the Company itself. Linde is the only company in the sector which also manufactures the counterweights for forklift trucks at its own facilities. The Company carries out manufacturing activities using advanced production technology.

Materials and recycling

Iron and steel are the main materials required for the manufacture of industrial trucks. 95% of the total weight of a truck is made of steel. The rest of the vehicle is made up of tyres, batteries, electronics, lubricants, paint and varnish. Pallets and other packaging materials are used for shipment. As with ethical guidelines, Linde Material Handling also integrates ecological standards in its supplier management. As part of the KION Group the Principles of Supplier Conduct are valid.

Linde life-cycle assessments have revealed for environmental optimisation of Linde products that reducing the energy consumption during usage is a much more powerful lever for decreasing the burden on the environment than, for example, replacing materials with substitutes. Having said that, environmental factors also play a role in the selection of materials. For example, upto 90% of the steel used in the counterweight is made of secondary steel. By the same token, components such as the driver’s cab or the lift mast are manufactured from highgrade primary steels owing to the higher design requirements and operating safety.

At the end of the product life-cycle, Linde carries out a check to establish whether a vehicle can be included in the range of “Approved Trucks” for reconditioning and reuse. This programme and the general long service life of Linde products means that a vehicle seldom has to be disposed of after the first phase of use. However, if this is the case, a very significant proportion of the vehicles can be recycled.

The recycling programme at the French Linde subsidiary Fenwick has succeeded in significantly increasing the recycling rate over the past several years. Whereas the proportion of recycled materials was still 83% in 2010. This percentage had increased to 99% by 2014. It includes 95% metals (steel and some copper from electronic components).

The other four percent cover scrap rubber from the tyres and waste oil from the hydraulic system and engine area. These are collected properly in cooperation with a disposal company and reprocessed almost without loss to form secondary raw materials. Reconditioning of batteries is also frequently part of the scheme for pre-owned “Approved Trucks”.

Responsible waste management and recycling also takes place at other Linde locations. In 2014, for example, waste recovery was environmentally optimised in collaboration with a new service provider in Sweden. Waste separation in Germany became even more differentiated and now includes e.g. aerosol cans (varnish, oils) as a recyclable material fraction.

Waste and disposal channels

A variety of different types of waste are generated in the production facilities at Linde. They are separated into fractions and disposed of in accordance with the statutory regulations. Metals, paper and packaging material in particular can be recovered – on this basis, Linde has a recycling rate of more than 90% for non-hazardous wastes. Hazardous wastes at Linde mainly include used lead-acid batteries, old varnishes and solvents, waste oil, and packaging and filters contaminated with these materials. In total, in the reporting year there were 17,300 tonnes of non-hazardous and 4,200 tonnes of hazardous waste.

Disposal and recovery of non-hazardous waste1

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Disposal and recovery of non-hazardous waste (pie chart)

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Disposal and recovery of hazardous waste1

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Disposal and recovery of hazardous waste (pie chart)

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Water and wastewater

The production facilities of Linde Material Handling are without exception in regions with generous water reserves and very good local infrastructure. Water is not therefore a significant environmental factor for Linde and savings are mainly carried out for reasons of cost. In total, processes at Linde consumed 194,000 cubic metres of water – 90 % of it from local supply, where also most of the wastewater went. The wastewater quality generally does not require any pretreatment before disposal.

Water consumption1

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Water consumption (pie chart)

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Wastewater volume1

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Wastewater volume (pie chart)

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Environmentally friendly spare parts warehouse

Meaningful waste recycling and energy savings are the focus of an environmentally friendly spare parts warehouse at the British site in Basingstoke. Since a new warehouse was required in 2012 due to a shortage of space, the newbuild was designed right from the start on the basis of environmental principles. Firstly, the warehouse is now also used for the reconditioning of used trucks from recovered and recycled components. The warehouse has also been designed using an intelligent approach to lighting and heating, since different areas of the warehouse can be illuminated or heated independently of each other according to need, or indeed these systems can be switched off if required. Any necessary packaging requirements have also been optimised for the movement of goods such that packaging can be used several times. If this is no longer possible, metal, wood, plastic, paper and cardboard are recycled separately. The concept provides tangible protection for the environment and saves substantial costs for energy and disposal.