Retailers can do to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
These days, consumers are shopping for more than clothes and furnishings. They are shopping for retailers. Specifically, consumers are shopping for retailers who are environmentally conscious, and who offer them opportunities to reduce waste.
Retailers have many opportunities to reduce and recycle their waste. Work with your property manager to team up with other retailers in a mall or shopping center, to share recyclables storage space and collection fees. Set recycling standards that waste and recycling collection companies must meet to secure your account.
Since stores are continually receiving shipments of merchandise, packaging materials make up a large portion of retail waste. By reusing and recycling these containers, retailers can significantly reduce their waste and disposal costs.
Retailers should select a recycling coordinator from their business or from the shopping center in which they are located. Then develop an action plan for achieving responsible waste management, including specific, quantifiable goals.
Work with suppliers and producers to reduce packaging. Communicate your desire to receive products and supplies which are not over-packaged, and to offer products that are packaged in materials that are both recycled and recyclable. Creating demand for this type of packaging will assure the supply of these materials is increased. Ask your suppliers to take back or backhaul packaging, particularly corrugated cardboard for reuse several times over.
Reuse, When Possible
Repair and reuse shipping pallets. Require suppliers to take their pallets back.
Encourage the use of durable mugs, glasses and flatware in the employee lounge and break rooms, instead of using disposable cups and utensils.
Reuse crates, boxes, baskets and pails as many times as possible.
If you have extra clothes hangers, donate them to a local dry-cleaning company.
Reuse packing materials, like foam peanuts for outgoing shipments. If you can't use them, find someone who can. Local shipping companies will accept donated packing peanuts for reuse.
Recycle to Reduce Disposal Costs and It’s the Law
Recycle corrugated cardboard boxes and all mixed paper.
Recycle scrap metal such as shelving units. Contact a scrap metal recycling company for collection services or self-haul to a scrap metal recycler. Check with your property manager to determine if scrap metal collection areas are provided for your store.
Provide employees with the opportunity to recycle aluminum, steel and tin cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles and containers, mixed paper and cardboard. If you can't find a recycling company to haul these materials away, an employee might volunteer to take them to a recycling center. Check to see if your property manager provides recycling services as part of your lease.
Businesses that sell food and beverages in recyclable packaging must make recycling containers available for their customers to use. The food court or other restaurants located in a shopping center must offer recycling of commingled materials for patrons.
Provide recycling education as a part of new employee orientation information. Walk the new employees through the recycling program. Demonstrate to employees how to separate cardboard and prepare other recyclables. Periodically, provide positive reinforcement during staff meetings.
Tell your customers about your successful recycling program. Many consumers seek out businesses that practice environmentally sound policies.
Buy Recycled Products
Purchase recycled towels and tissues for use in restrooms.
Buy and label shopping bags, gift boxes and other packaging with pre- and post consumer recycled content.
Order goods and products which are offered for sale to customers that are made from recycled materials or fibers. Highlight these products for consumers, to educate and make them aware that these recycled products are available.
What are other local retailers doing to reduce, reuse and recycle
We'd like to add your retail business to our list of recyclers, so let us know how you are doing! If you have a concern or issue you wish to discuss, or a success story you want to share, please contact us.
For more information:
Please contact the Montgomery County SORRT (Smart Organizations Reduce and Recycle Tons) Program at 3-1-1 (out-of-County: 240-777-0311, TTY: 240-773-3556).