There is no doubt that most retail stores generate a lot of waste, much of what is recyclable materials. Excessive packaging including corrugated cardboard and shrink wrap can all be efficiently reduced and recycled. Recycling in a retail environment is very similar to recycling in our homes, schools, or other businesses. The same guidelines apply for the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
10 Ways Retailers can Manage Waste:
- Try to minimize excessive packaging when your customers make a purchase. This can be as simple as asking if your customer wants a bag instead of assuming that they do.
- Encourage the use of reusable shopping bags. If you can, try to offer your customers an incentive for using a reusable shopping bag instead of plastic or paper.
- When possible, ask your vendors to reduce bulky packaging on the products you sell. You could also encourage the use of packaging that is reusable or made with recyclable materials.
- Merchandise that may be slightly damaged or outdated can be donated to an organization or charity in need instead of thrown in the trash.
- Place recycling bins inside your store, in the break room, or outside near the entrance to give customers and employees the opportunity to throw their waste into a recycling can instead of just the trash can.
- Invest in a cardboard baler for your stockroom so your easily bale your own cardboard or other recyclables as merchandise comes in. Even in a smaller stockroom, space saving vertical balers will help you to reduce the size of your recyclables so it can be efficiently stored until it is picked up or transported to your recycler.
- Educate your staff on what they can do to reduce, reuse, and recycle, not only while they are at work, but also at home and on-the-go.
- Use, purchase, and promote products that are made with recycled materials. Your customers who are environmentally-conscious will appreciate having a green alternative to buy from you.
- Promote buy-back programs or upcycling programs to encourage new sales with a trade-in of old products that can be recycled, reused, or donated.
- Use digital marketing to reduce paper waste. For instance, instead of printing wasteful catalogs, newsletters, or fancy packaging, opt for online catalogs, email newsletters, and mobile marketing.
Another upside to improving the recycling program at your retail business is that you will likely reduce your business’ trash handling costs and increase profitability.
Retail Businesses who Recycle and Efficiently Manage Waste