Changes in Consumer Behaviour
Since customers have become more sustainability-conscious in their purchases, waste management has begun to play an even more important role in South Africa’s retail sector. Retailers will need to adapt their waste management policies to the changes in consumer behaviour.
The Financial Implications of Inefficient Waste Management
Waste management costs continue to rise, and inefficiencies in your waste stream can lead to massive financial losses. From the costs of getting rid of waste products to the tax related to a heavy carbon footprint, the high expense of ignoring sustainability issues cannot be denied.
The need to improve waste management is more than just a feel-good endeavour. There are clear economic benefits and marketing rewards. Along with saving costs, you can build a better reputation as a brand.
Smart Steps Towards Improving Waste Management in the Retail Sector
1. Customer-Focused Recycling Initiatives.
Retailers can encourage customers to recycle their products when the active life cycle of the product ends. Sometimes, these recycling initiatives are far-reaching and can make a difference on a global scale.
To start, your company can offer customers incentives for participating in recycling programmes. A brilliant example is the Adidas recycling programme. This giant footwear company encourages customers to bring their old shoes into their stores, regardless of brand.
Customers benefit in that they get a discount on Adidas products. Everyone wins! The shoes are then used to make new shoes or processed to produce energy.
Examples of energy used in the programme include powering cement kilns. Waste is reduced through the smart implementation of the programme and many concerns are addressed through this Sustainable Footprint programme.
Nespresso is another company that has a global recycling initiative. They provide their customers with recycling bags to put their used pods into and request them to return their filled bags when they come back to the store. The used pods are then collected, washed and recycled. They are made from Aluminium, which is infinitely recyclable. Even if there is no Nespresso shop nearby to drop of your Nespresso pods, you can clean the pods and give them to your recycling programme.
2. e-Waste Take-Back Programmes.
Consumer electronic devices, for example television sets and computers, create e-waste. Proper disposal of e-waste is problematic. Most residential waste sites will not take e-waste to the dump. The reason is that most contain highly toxic materials. However, Remade Recycling’s Residential Estate programme does take e-waste, even large appliances.
These materials have environmental impacts that are harmful. Take-back retailers created programmes to minimise the impact of this hazardous waste on the environment.
An example of this is Apple’s Trade-In Programme. Consumers can return their used Apple devices (phones, laptops, desktops, etc.) and get in-store credit on eligible devices. If the device isn’t eligible for instore credit, Apple will recycle the device.
3. Cut back on e-Commerce Packaging.
We live in a modern world where almost every retailer, whether large or small, has an online presence. Shopping online leads to plenty of packaging. The packaging plays an important role in ensuring goods arrive at their destination in good condition. Its key role is to prevent damage.
Most e-commerce waste comes from the over-packaging of products. Products bought online often arrive in large boxes filled with plastic and filled with air. The actual product is usually much smaller and the rest are fillers.
Products are protected, but the waste generated is often excessive and unnecessary. Retailers can make a huge difference by encouraging consumers to recycle this packaging.
4. Cut Back on Packaging Waste in the Food Sector.
Globally food wastage amounts to a full third of the world’s food production. This represents an immense amount of wasted resources. Wasted resources include water, energy, labour, and land.
By adapting the packaging of food items from non-recyclables to recyclable materials, we can reduce the amount of food-related packaging that ends up in our oceans and landfills.
Much food wastage takes place on arrival at supermarkets. Spoiled food is often thrown out in truckloads. A large percentage of food produced in South Africa goes uneaten.
Some reasons for this include overstocking, low standards, and incorrect sell-by date labels. Wastage of food also produces carbon dioxide emissions. By addressing these gaps in your supply chain, you can reduce the amount of food that goes to waste.
Repurposing of food that would otherwise be thrown out could address the problem of families going to bed hungry at night. Many retailers have begun initiatives that distribute food to underprivileged families and communities. These initiatives help solve the issue of prevalent hunger and massive amounts of wasted food.
5. Use Modern Technology to Solve Ancient Problems.
One way to tackle waste is by getting onsite waste management for retail stores in South Africa. This is one way to ensure waste does not get to landfills. We are tackling inefficient waste systems at the source.
With updated technology and innovative modern solutions to age-old problems, Remade Recycling can revolutionise your waste stream for good. Today’s retailers face many challenges. To survive and thrive, they will need to think creatively and adopt new solutions.
By employing new techniques and technologies to keep costs down, including smart waste management, retailers can make a difference. Retailers, now more than ever, should be committed to long-term successes. Explore the various options we offer, and you can optimise your waste management.
We offer the retail sector a full onsite solution that is customised to fit the specific needs of individual companies. Our onsite waste management audit is free. This will enable us to assess what your waste generation is and how to address challenges unique to your situation.