Owners of shopping centres are acutely aware that waste is an unavoidable by-product of their business. Even though it can seem like an uphill battle to improve their waste streams and lower their waste outputs, there are steps they can take to better manage the waste at their mall or shopping centre.

Why is Reducing Waste at Malls and Shopping Centres Important?

Waste reduction can “close the loop”. It is a resource-conversion process within our economic system. The measures put in place for the reduction of waste in malls and shopping centres can contribute towards reincorporating recyclable resources into the circular economy.

Mall owners can help minimise negative effects on South Africa’s environment by minimising waste to landfill and ensure that waste recyclables get into the recycling stream sooner rather than later. It can also help improve your bottom line. You can rest easy knowing your mall runs as efficiently as possible and contributes towards a better future for our country.

7 Tips for Waste Reduction at Malls and Shopping Centres

Cutting down on waste coming out of your mall or shopping centre is easier than you may think. There are practical, cost-effective steps you can take which are easy to implement.

1. Recycle

There are many recycling opportunities available for shopping centres and retailers. Recycling is the easiest and most logical way to reduce waste. Any items that would have gone to a landfill can now go into a different waste stream. Recyclable materials can be reused and get a new life. Recycling is easy when you partner with a recycling company that understands the industry and works towards measurable reductions in waste being generated by the shopping centre.

Recycling initiatives can also assist in job creation. Recycling is about more than just paper and cardboard items. Sustainable waste management options also exist for the disposal of redundant food stocks including composting options which can save money on waste collection services and aid in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Sort Waste Onsite

Instead of paying for ever-increasing refuse removal, you can partner with a waste management service provider that will sort your waste onsite. We have trained staff who sort waste onsite to separate recyclable materials from non-recyclable material so that as little waste as possible ends up going to landfill.

This means that the amount of waste upliftment that you need to pay for will be drastically reduced. You’ll automatically benefit from a better environmental score and increase the sustainability of your shopping mall.

Onsite recycling management services help in the identification of the various materials that are recyclable. Having Remade Recycling as your waste management service provider means that your hazardous waste that is non-recyclable will be disposed of responsibly. We adhere to all laws and regulations during waste separation and we adhere strictly to the National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008 and municipal bylaws.

3. Hire an Environmentally Conscious Waste Management Company

Not all waste management companies are alike. Does your current waste management provider apply a waste management programme designed to meet your unique needs and benefit the environment? Do they consider the negative impacts of each step of the process? Proper waste management should include proper waste disposal costs, better energy efficiency, a lower carbon footprint and contributions to the circular economy.

4. Start Waste Reuse Initiatives

Reuse is known as a simple way to benefit the future of our planet, but did you know you can start reuse initiatives on a small scale? It’s about more than reusing glass jars. Take the anaerobic digester unit installed at the N1 City Mall in Cape Town as an example.

This unit collects waste from inside the shopping centre that has been separated from recyclables. The machine chops up the waste into usable sizes. Greywater mixed with enzymes is added. The machine functions like a stomach, producing hot water and methane gas. The hot water is used for cleaning, while the gas goes towards generating more power for the mall.

The system reduces costs and reuses waste in an ingenious way to benefit the mall’s energy expenses. It also goes a long way to sustain the future of our environment.

5. Improve Waste Management Systems

If you manage your centre’s waste removal proactively, you can save a lot of money. Actions as simple as emptying compactors when they are full can make a difference. To take your sustainability up a notch, however, it’s best to get onsite waste management and a waste management service that will enhance and improve your centre waste management.

You can further conduct a waste audit to see if your waste is being processed correctly. A waste audit is a formal programme that is structured to quantify the type of waste your shopping centre or mall produces. The audit will assess the amount of waste generated by your shopping centre. An audit can help you find gaps in your waste streams. From an audit, a good waste management company can provide you with an excellent strategy that will be better for the environment and for your profit margins.

6. Use Chemical-Free Cleaning Solutions and Energy-Efficient Appliances

Yes, malls and shopping centres can save on energy costs. Replacing the lighting in the buildings and stores with energy-efficient high-performance LED and fluorescent bulbs is a good place to start. Using tools that make your energy use more economic, such as timed light controls to turn off lights when they are not needed is a great second step.

You can also save money and reduce your environmental impact with safe cleaning products. Hire cleaning services that use safe, effective and, above all, chemical-free solutions wherever possible.

7. Educate Shoppers

Education is key. Your shopping centre should have enough processes in place so that shoppers are encouraged to separate and recycle their waste materials. Already shoppers are encouraged to reuse shopping bags.  Shopping centres should also place recycling bins and rubbish bins in high shopper traffic areas. Awareness of recycling will soon become a habit, especially if shoppers are made alert to these structures. Including an education programme on recycling in the orientation of new shopping mall staff members is a positive and strategic move.

By working together, everyone in South Africa can make a difference. The sustainability of our environment lies in the impact we have on the world.