20 ways for Retailers to be Eco-friendly

Running your shop in an environmentally conscious way is a great technique to stand out from competition.  You will attract customers who aren’t concerned if your items aren’t the cheapest on the market, and your business will become highly thought of. The best news is that going green can help your bottom line. The following are some simple steps you can take today in your shop to save money and decrease its impact on the planet.

  1. Change your shop light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs to save yourself energy costs, and to reduce over 100kg of carbon emissions per bulb per year.
  2. Turn off unnecessary equipment – if you have outdoor signage, don’t illuminate it until night time.
  3. Turn off cash registers unless they are in constant use. Most retail outlets have registers that they only use in peak times (like Christmas) and turn them off for the rest of the year!
  4. Don’t print register receipts, unless your customer requests them.
  5. Only use air-conditioning or heating when necessary – not year round.
  6. As if you needed another reason to move stock faster, stock spoilage can result in additional landfill, so avoid it.
  7. Offer recyclable paper bags free, and charge 5 or 10 cents for plastic ones.
  8. Recycle packaging. In some shops, cartons are used for large items. Save the ones that come in your shipments rather than using new ones.
  9. Regularly clean air conditioning filters, to use as little energy as possible. A clean filter can save over 150kg of carbon emissions in a year.
  10. Use carpooling, public transport, bikes or walk to work and encourage your staff to do the same. If you reduce your travel distance by just 10 kilometres per week, over a year you will save more than 130kg of carbon emissions.
  11. Encourage customers to thoughtfully dispose of old/broken products – maybe consider a collection bin on your premises for these.
  12. Buy products that last longer – for example you will not need to replace timber hangers as often as plastic ones.
  13. Keep lighting in store off during the day if possible.
  14. Invest in solar panels to create your own energy source.
  15. Donate a percentage from each sale to an environmentally concerned non-profit organisation.
  16. Donate or recycle last season’s stock.
  17. Ensure your carry bags are recyclable and encourage customers to recycle.
  18. Use recycled paper for as much as possible of your printing. Recycled paper uses 70-90% less energy to create! (our paper bags are made from recycled paper).
  19. Install skylights in store if you can, to reduce the need for artificial lighting. Skylights in small stores can reduce emissions by 2 tonnes per year and in shopping centres, 20 tonnes or more per year.
  20. Install automatic shut-off times for electronic equipment.

A short-term investment in sustainability will pay off in savings in the mid-to-long term future, but remember to publicise your environmentally conscious actions, so your customer base can support you right now!

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