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Reducing Store Waste

We spoke with Mark Haywood, one of our consultant team, who talked us through some of the challenges faced when trying to reduce waste within retail stores. Having worked within the Retail & B2B sector for over 20 years, Mark has considerable experience in looking at reducing store costs associated with waste and the positive impact this can have.

What are the challenges with waste from individual stores?

Recyclable waste and general waste still dominate the retail waste streams whilst food waste will continue to grow.

In an ideal world, stores would produce no business waste, but this has not yet proven possible. Cardboard is still the main protagonist in retail recyclable waste. Whilst it is a very recyclable material, the cost savings of picking in outer boxes in Distribution Centres and the goods protection in transit (be that in containers or on pallets) still seems to win the battle. For general waste, the emphasis should be to review all general waste and remove or replace with recyclable material.

One of the other challenges is finding a reliable pro-active waste partner to collect and report the waste streams to measure against business KPI’s and targets.

What do you look for when reviewing store waste?

I always start by asking some questions. What is the waste being produced? Why is this waste being generated? How is your waste collection scheduled? Are you receiving a good service from your waste collection supplier?

The answers to these questions, along with the data around spend and contract help me to work with our clients to agree the best solution for their particular problem.

How does this help?

We all have to take responsibility – and it starts with specifications from buying/product sourcing.

How much emphasis is placed on the cardboard outers?

What I see in retail is vastly over-engineered cartons that the manufacturer has taken the decision to supply. It is essential that we source outer packaging that is fit for purpose.

If you want to reduce your waste removal costs, ask yourself, can I reduce my transit packaging obligation by 50% in 2 years and what will this do for my business and costs?

What’s next in the world of waste?

We’ve got just under a year until Scotland launches the UK’s first Deposit Return Scheme. There are several other countries running similar schemes and it will be interesting to see how this is implemented ahead of England & Wales rolling out their own schemes.

I’m also keen to see what new products will be available to help reduce the dependency on cardboard packaging.

It’s great that many companies are achieving 90% recycling from their stores, personally I am always looking at the 10% and trying to find ways to reduce this waste even more.

Contact us as we would love to have the opportunity to learn about your company and understand how we can work with you as you grow.

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Mark Haywood