Dealing With Retail Waste at Christmas – The Right Way!

Two women shopping at the Christmas markets

These waste facts might surprise you and it’s snow joke…

As much as we all love the holidays we should keep in mind the amount of materials being wasted during this period, around 30% in many households, and even higher for the retail sector.

With a few minor adjustments to the waste management plan, companies can easily reduce their refuse by carefully choosing a vendor and making use of green packaging or delivery options.

Read on to learn how you can keep your waste output low and stay off the naughty list.

Table of Contents

Preventative Ways of Reducing Business Waste

1. Choose low packaging vendors

When finding ways to reduce the amount of waste your business is generating over the holidays you should should consider a top-down approach.

Use fewer unnecessary materials which can’t be recycled, including items for sale, in-store signage as well as store tools and equipment.

A perfect example would be to buy stock and items from vendors who offer low or biodegradable packaging options.

It’s expected that there will be a rise in packaging disposal during the Christmas period.

In recent years this curve has been exacerbated due to the growing popularity of online e-commerce sites, allowing consumers to order items at the touch of a button.

Now items require individual delivery and packaging, adding more waste to the overall pile at the end of the holidays.

It is believed that 49% of Christmas gift purchases are conducted online these days which only adds more waste to occur during Christmas.

Consider purchasing eco-friendly items made locally to promote in your store!

2. Choose Green Delivery Options

Lower than 1% of Britain’s online stores are offering ‘sustainable delivery’ as an option and due to this we would advise looking into your chosen supplier to ensure that they offer sustainable methods.

Even though you may find that every retailer doesn’t advertise a low-carbon option for delivering items, you can always find ways to offer more flexibility to the supplier by allowing them to alter the date and time of delivery.

This way they can add the items to a vehicle that will already be in the area on a set route.

Lower emissions will keep Rudolf happy and keep the roads a little less Clause-trophobic during the holidays.

These measures help to keep cars off the road and reduce the amount of materials needed to wrap or package items.

When transporting goods to stores they are typically placed into one larger box with minimal additional packaging and padding on the inside (unless the items being stored are fragile).

3. Combined Delivery

For those companies that do offer greener options for receiving your items, you will need to select combined delivery or the equivalent in their vernacular.

This will have your items placed together in a box with other items of a similar nature.

Negotiating Greener Delivery Options with the Supplier

In the case that a supplier is sending you too much wrapping and packaging we advise that you offer feedback to their customer service.

You’ll be surprised how often companies will adjust to accommodate their customers, and even if these changes don’t take immediate effect, they will be looked into for large-scale adjustments.

In the case of single clients, a company will likely offer flexibility to keep their customers happy.

Cardboard Packaging Recycling

Any cardboard packaging material can be recycled in locations such as Leicestershire by placing them in a collected pile on the curbside.

If there is a large amount of the material to be disposed of, we recommend compressing or flattening the packaging so that the volume is greatly reduced and will take up far less space inside your recycling waste unit.

As an alternative in the case that there is no more space within your bin, you have options to arrange a one-off collection from a clearance service provider or even deliver the material to a recycling collection centre yourself.

Options for Recycling

A lot of delivery items will include materials for protecting the goods which have been stored.

Even though many of these materials can’t go into a standard recycling bin there are still options that can save your business costs over time and also go a long way to reduce Christmas waste going to landfill.

One example is internal packaging protection on fragile materials such as bubble wrap, polystyrene and air pockets.

Even though these can’t be placed into your standard recycling bin, there are options to recycle the material which will work out cheaper than simply filling up your general waste bin with the material (leading to further collections needed).

One common workaround for larger sites is to make use of a compactor machine.

This machine can compress the material into smaller blocks to be stored within a space until they can be collected at a date when the volume of the material has reached a predetermined threshold.

At this point, a collection vehicle will remove the plastics to be recycled at a treatment centre.

Christmas Waste Statistics

General Christmas Statistics

The true scale of how much waste is produced over the holidays can be shocking.

Here are some of the Christmas waste statistics to give you a picture of what we’re tackling:

Around 114 tonnes of plastic packaging will be disposed of without recycling in the UK this year.

21 million people are to receive one or more unwanted gifts at Christmas.

Even worse, 5% of those will be thrown into a waste bin for disposal, that’s 1.5 million items needlessly wasted and going to landfills.

And What about the Food Waste Statistics Over Christmas?

You can expect to see a lot more than four million Christmas dinners to be thrown away each year – which will be roughly 7.5 million mince pies,  263,000 turkeys, about 740,000 christmas puddings and 11.3 million roasted potatoes.

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