• Smart Recycling managing director Ward Petherbridge and one of the Toyota 8FBN 2.5-tonne electric forklifts.
    Smart Recycling managing director Ward Petherbridge and one of the Toyota 8FBN 2.5-tonne electric forklifts.
  • Ward Petherbridge operating one of the Toyota electric forklifts at the Smart Recycling Head Office in Dandenong, Victoria.
    Ward Petherbridge operating one of the Toyota electric forklifts at the Smart Recycling Head Office in Dandenong, Victoria.
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Victorian recycling firm Smart Recycling has invested in a fleet of electric forklifts from Toyota Material Handling, which it is charging using solar energy.

Smart Recycling, which diverts more than 50,000 tonnes of waste from landfill per year, has four Toyota 8FBN 2.5-tonne electric forklifts after transitioning away from diesel, and is preparing to add a fifth. According to Ward Petherbridge, managing director, Smart Recycling aims to reduce waste and energy consumption through efficiency.

“The impetus for getting Toyota electric forklifts was putting 100kW of solar on our roof, which provides a 'free' source of electricity for charging the forklift batteries.

“It’s the ethos of our business: our mantra is reduce, reuse, recycle, recover – and it also makes economic sense,” he said.

Petherbridge said the switch to electric Toyota forklifts has saved $100 per machine, per week in fuel costs.

“The solar system is so efficient I have paid only a few hundred dollars for electricity over the last couple of years.

“The pay-back on the investment in the solar system is only about 3.5 years, and we’ve had the electric Toyota forklifts for two years. So once it’s paid off, operating our Toyota electric forklifts makes even more financial sense,” he said.

He adds that the Toyota forklifts are resilient machines with a long lifecycle.

“We bought our first diesel Toyota forklifts for this business around 2004. They have about 15,000-plus hours on their engines and they’re still going strong. We have two other depots that don’t have solar production, so I have them operating there.

“The oldest electric Toyota forklift has only been in service for about two years and nothing has gone wrong with it,” he said.

Grant Owen, area sales manager at Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA), says Petheridge is a forward thinker when it comes to reducing environmental impact.

“He only deals with equipment that has low-footprint credentials and 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 – so that in itself makes a significant accumulative difference over the lifecycle of the machine,” he said.

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