What steps are retailers taking to reduce their waste and environmental impact?

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Waste production is a growing concern for those within the retail sector, with a 2010 survey from The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) revealing that 9,212 tonnes of waste was produced by retail and wholesale factories. Of this waste, 59.6% was recycled; but more can be done.

Waste management can be a costly process for many retailers, but with there being a growing conversation about how disposal methods affect the environment, it has become an unavoidable topic. However, changes in the law in areas such as charging for single-use plastic bags have encouraged businesses to look at waste disposal more closely. This, in turn, is leading to new initiatives that help to reduce costs and overall impact on the environment. 

 Some retailers have already taken steps to reduce waste including:

 Lush Cosmetics – A larger range of products is now available without packaging, plus their post-consumer plastic is 100% recyclable.

  • Tesco – The supermarket has plans to remove all plastic packaging that is hard to recycle from its own brand products from next year.
  • Network Rail – The network is planning a ban on single-use coffee cups and cutlery by 2020, which will encourage big food retailers such as Wetherspoons, Greggs and Caffe Nero to consider alternative sources.

Though steps are being taken by businesses to reduce their impact on the environment, the retail industry is still a big producer of waste. Everything from how products are sent into a store by suppliers, through to the packaging on saleable items plays a part in the process. It’s not just at store level either. How consumers dispose of your product packaging is also now considered a responsibility of the retailer. So, how do you create an environment where the whole chain reduces their impact on the environment?

Take a look at some of the ways you can make changes with both small and larger initiatives:

Sustainable packaging

Housing products in packaging made from recycled materials is a great step for retailers who want to reduce their impact on the environment. Just one of the companies that is leading the way is the natural skincare brand, REN, who are now using 100% recycled bottles for their Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Body Wash. 20% of these bottles is made up of recycled plastic.

REN has also pledged to repackage the whole range, starting with their band and body lotions early next year.

Retailers can also encourage their customers to reuse plastic chewing gum tubs as small bins or gum holders for the likes of cars and desks.

Invest in waste management equipment

Investing in equipment and machinery that reduces costs and improves productivity is essential. By investing in a waste compactor or baler, you can tackle your waste problem and decrease the disposal volume.

If you have a lot of general waste, a compactor can significantly reduce the volume and frequency you send waste to landfill. For recyclable waste, a baler is a great option. This solution segregates your waste and bales it ready for collection. Baling recyclables can also be sold for reuse and gives you the opportunity to make money back from your waste.

Work with green suppliers

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?Suppliers often send stock in plastic and cardboard, and often there is a lot to dispose of. By working with eco-conscious suppliers, this will help to reduce the amount that’s sent to your stores.

Rewards and incentives for recycling

Some businesses may be able to consider reward schemes for customers that trade-in or recycle old products. By incentivising consumers, you are providing a place for people to make an eco-conscious choice about where they shop.

These are just some of the things your business can do to reduce your impact on the environment. By educating staff and customers on the benefits of eco-conscious purchases and recycling, you will help to improve the retail industry in the long-term.

If you’d like advice or more information about how to manage your business waste and environmental impact, contact us for details.

Sources 

https://uk.lush.com/article/naked-truth-packaging-free-cosmetics

https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/home/topics/environment/tesco-steps-up-war-on-plastic-with-packaging-ban/567404.article

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/plastic-coffee-cups-cutlery-uk-stations-network-rail-ban-environment-a8384936.html

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