Recycling in retail environments

Are recycling behaviours changing in the retail sector?

For every retail store in every shopping centre, getting punters through the door and selling them as many items as possible is the main goal. Recycling isn’t necessarily the main concern, but our retail whitepaper, which takes an in-depth look at how our recycling programme is helping shopping centres achieve sustainability targets, brings to light a change in behaviour and attitude towards recycling.

We carried out in-depth interviews with six shopping centre professionals, whose role encompasses waste management, to understand how recycling within major shopping destinations in the UK is handled. The research we carried out found that all the shopping centres that currently used the Every Can Counts initiative feel they have a strong recycling programme in place to help meet their recycling needs. The only centre that felt they didn’t currently have a strong recycling strategy, was the one business that had not implemented the Every Can Counts programme at the time of interview. This shows how shopping centres are leading the way in the retail industry to improve recycling habits and make a positive impact on their carbon footprint.

Our research also found that the ultimate recycling goal for shopping centres is to achieve 100% diversion from landfill, with two shopping centres, Thistles Shopping Centre and thecentre:mk already hitting this target. Shopping centres obviously want to maximise everything they do to lessen their carbon footprint, but maintaining this performance is an even tougher challenge. At Every Can Counts we are determined to help shopping centres achieve this target, with a support programme which can be adapted to meet their needs.

One of our participants in the report, Martin McAtee, Facilities Manager at Thistles Shopping Centre, said: “We are now achieving 100% diversion from landfill, which is our main goal and we are very pleased to have met this target. Every Can Counts has made a huge difference to our recycling activity. I don’t think they could have done much more to support us.”

It’s not just shopping centres bosses who are making all the right moves, according to our whitepaper retailers are now embracing the recycling programme and making steady improvements in educating staff. Whilst the main focus of retailers is attracting customers to their stores, our participants found that by introducing a recycling system which is both uncomplicated and well communicated has, over time, ensured retail tenants have got on board with the wider centre’s recycling initiatives.

We are now in partnership with 12 shopping centres across the country, with a combined annual footfall of over 110 million. We provide support in spreading the recycling message with a number of resources readily available. The programme can also work alongside existing recycling schemes, which in turn raise awareness and boost rates for other recyclable materials.

If you would like to get involved with Every Can Counts – get in touch here to see how you can benefit from recycling. We currently work with over 1,400 organisations and have over 4,200 sites operating the Every Can Counts programme. Just get in touch and you could be making your cans count this time next week!