The Reducing Waste Series: Retail

Packaging is the biggest source of waste in the retail industry. Of course, the best way to deal with any type of waste is to not produce it in the first place, but if that’s not possible, you need to think about reducing, reusing, and recycling waste.

How you can reduce packaging waste in your retail business

  • Have a comprehensive inventory of stock to reduce the chance of ordering more than you need
  • Only store the minimum amount of goods you need
  • Separate packaging waste from other waste for easier recycling
  • Use plastic crates for goods instead of cardboard boxes
  • Train staff to open packaging carefully so it can be reused
  • Work closely with companies in your supply chain to come up with ways to use packaging more efficiently
  • Buy items in bulk where appropriate to reduce packaging costs

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How to use your resources more efficiently

Keeping costs down is important for any business, and reducing waste is not just about thinking before you throw and recycling, it’s also about thinking about the resources you might waste needlessly on a daily basis. Water and energy are two considerable costs for a retail business, and every bit that’s wasted is money flowing out of your business that could be spent on better things.

Reduce your water usage

We all take water for granted, but it’s amazing how much water (and money) you can save by implementing a few simple measures such as:

  • Fitting water-saving devices in toilets. It can cut water usage by up to 40%
  • Investigating leaks as soon as possible
  • Getting the water pressure checked. High pressure can result in more water being used and it can also cause leaks
  • Pledging to reduce your water usage in your environmental policy

Use energy more efficiently

Ah, the good old energy bills. You can’t run a business without them, but suppliers are forever hiking up prices, so it makes sense to reduce your energy usage as much as you can by:

  • Turning down the thermostat. Turning the temperature down by just 1°C can help you save up to 8% on your energy bills
  • Make sure that the heating is on a timer so it’s only on during your operating hours
  • Install lighting that is operated by a motion sensor in areas like stockrooms or staff toilets so it only comes on when someone enters the room
  • Put up signs to remind staff to turn off lights and equipment when they aren’t in use. Computers and other machines shouldn’t be left on standby
  • Use energy saving lighting where you can instead if inefficient fluorescent tube lighting
  • Keep equipment and machinery well-maintained so it’s not needlessly using energy. Invest in energy efficient appliances and equipment when you replace old items.

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