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How to Responsibly Recycle a Retired Forklift

When your forklift is nearing its end of life, but gave you many years of service, you cannot simply throw it out with the garbage. There are efficient and resourceful ways to recycle a forklift, which can be done in a responsible manner. Forklifts are useful pieces of machinery that add value to any warehouse facility, store or factory floor with the ability to lift and move heavy objects. Do your part to recycle your forklift responsibly—this applies to the batteries, as well, in the case of electric forklifts.

It is time to retire your forklift if it is at the end of its economic life, says DC Velocity, which is when the cost to operate the machine is higher than the value it offers. The factors that affect the decision can range from hours of operation and maintenance costs to productivity and utilization rates.

Trade-Ins and Sales

There are several options available to you in the event that you need to dispose of your old forklift. If the equipment still has some life left in it, you can trade it in for a newer model. Often times, the company from which you intend to buy a new forklift may consider your trade-in for a portion of the value, much like a car dealership.

If you would like to sell your forklift and make some money toward a new one, you can put out an ad for your machine and hope for a direct sale. Alternatively, you can list it with a third party who can connect you with an interested buyer on the secondary market. This may be your best option, as this takes the hassle and footwork out of the equation for you. Buyers may use your old forklift for direct use in a warehouse setting, or they may take it apart and sell off the parts.

Reassignment

Another option is to redeploy the old forklift for use in other areas of your warehouse or store that require simple light duty. This is a wise option when you don't want to overburden your forklift with heavy usage hours, but still find enough value in it to keep it around for lighter jobs.

Reassigning old trucks for secondary uses can offer a cost-effective alternative to the hassle of trying to sell it. You may want to reconsider this if and when the cost to keep the forklift going supersedes the value of keeping it in service. What you don't want is costs to skyrocket due to loss of productivity, as well as high repair and maintenance costs.

Sell for Scrap

Selling your old lift truck for scrap can put a little cash in your pocket. However, this varies upon the make, model, size and age of the machine. The amount you receive also depends on the demand within your community's scrap market. You aren’t going to get much if there's no demand. Conversely, if there is high demand in your area for scrap metal, you could make a pretty penny.

Keep It

If you're not quite ready to get rid of your forklift completely, keep it in the rotation for service within your fleet as a backup. For instance, if one of your new machines breaks down and needs to be repaired, you can call your old forklift out of retirement to step up to the plate. This cuts down on the loss of productivity and high cost of a rental when in need of a short-term replacement. You can also keep your forklift in case you ever need spare parts on your newer models. This eliminates the hassle of hunting down and purchasing expensive parts when you need them.

Responsibly recycling your forklift is the only way to ensure you're retiring the machine in the correct manner.

Tom Reddon is a forklift specialist and blog manager for the National Forklift Exchange. He also sits on the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association (MHEDA) Executive Dialogue team.  

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