8 out of 10 Canadians agree they would be willing to pay more for a product if it is produced in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

Retailers can make sustainability a reality by taking action to cut down on store waste and letting customers know about environmental initiatives.

We depend on the earth to give us all the material goods to fulfill our needs and wants.

Retail stores can recycle much of the waste material generated at their locations such as office paper, newspaper, corrugated cardboard and beverage containers. Many waste haulers can also pick-up plastics for recycling.

Many of the simple reducing, reusing and recycling practices you use every day at home can easily be implemented at work to give staff and customers environmentally sustainable options.

Put these green tips to work at your store:

  • Place recycling bins in strategic locations including heavy traffic areas, common work areas and, most importantly, where recyclables are typically generated. To avoid contamination, ensure recycling stations are accompanied by clear, consistent signage.
  • Ensure that store employees are aware of recycling programs and are trained on how to properly recycle.
  • Give customers the choice to opt-out of plastic shopping bags or encourage shoppers to use their own.
  • Donate surplus merchandise to charities rather than throwing it in the trash. The recipient organization may be able to provide a tax receipt for donations.
  • The largest component of retail waste is packaging. Choose packaging that is recyclable and made from recycled materials. Request that vendors provide items without excess packaging.
  • Request that suppliers don’t use Polystyrene (Styrofoam) as packing materials – it is not recyclable in Newfoundland and Labrador and comes from a non-renewable resource – petroleum.
  • Use recycled paper fibre for all marketing and promotional pieces. Aim for a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled paper.
  • Reduce print materials by availing of online and social media marketing strategies.
  • Eliminate the merchant copy of receipts and send sales invoices and receipts via email where possible.
  • Use gift cards and loyalty cards that are made of recycled material.

Success Story: Kelp me!

Heather Jones doesn’t need to clean up her act! This soap-savy entrepreneur is proof that youth are leading our business community to a greener future. Growing up in Witless bay, the environment has always been an important issue and her business demonstrates her commitment to nature by:

  • Making soap out of kelp she collects and dries in her backyard.
  • Using as many local ingredients as possible.
  • Using natural and recycled packaging such as driftwood and recycled paper.
  • Refusing to use chemicals or fragrances and feels that she can make a better product the natural way.

Heather’s all-natural kelp soap – is helping keep our province clean, one bar of soap at a time.  Heather recently won Youth Ventures’ Excellence in Innovation Award that focuses on eco-business.

Success Story: Frito Lay Canada (NL Distribution Centre – Mt. Pearl)

The Frito Lay Distribution Centre in NL was extremely motivated to take on the Zero Landfill Program initiated by Frito Lay Canada – a program designed to divert as much waste from the landfill as possible. The Centre:

  • Reduced landfilled waste from 43% to 11% by implementing a variety of recycling programs – beverage containers, paper/cardboard and metals.
  • Ranked 15th out of 205 distribution centres across North America.
  • Donated their stale chip products to a local farm to be used as pig feed, and sent all cardboard boxes back to their plant in Nova Scotia for reuse.

With these simple and effective initiatives under their belt, the Frito Lay Canada Distribution Centre in NL is up for their next challenge – getting that 11% landfill waste closer to zero.