4 Tips for Reducing Holiday Waste at Retail Locations

Katie Sheppard

As the holidays draw near you may be thinking of a million different things. Whether you are making your gift wish list, planning your shopping adventures, or searching for a radio station that plays something other than holiday cheer, it’s likely that you are busy.

Unfortunately, some end-of-the-year tasks can create quite a flurry this time of year―that’s right, ‘tis the season for year-end reporting, fourth quarter closing, and the commencement of a new calendar year. And for many businesses, this time of year also brings an increase in holiday waste―more shoppers than any other time of year are on the prowl, thus more supplies arrive at retail locations to be consumed. In order to avoid extra charges or additional pick-ups, I’ve compiled some helpful tips and ideas to get you through the end of the year without blasting your budget into the New Year.

1.) RECEIVING EXTRA SHIPMENTS OF MERCHANDISE
  • Breakdown all cardboard boxes to save room in your containers.
  • Remove all plastic wrap from cardboard to reduce contamination and contact Ecova for how to recycle this pesky waste.
2.) REVIEW EXTRA PICK-UP REQUESTS FROM LAST YEAR AND CONSIDER:
  • Add an extra pick-up day to your regular service schedule through the holiday season, if you experienced additional pick-ups in prior years.
  • Request a temporary container or one-time extra pick-up to minimize costs associated with any major one-time store stocking events or display changes.
  • And of course, remember to build any modifications into your budget!
3.) OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTY CHEER
  • Consider a potluck rather than a catered event.
  • Encourage your colleagues to bring reusable containers for schlepping goodies to and from work.
  • Send employees home with leftovers in their reusable containers to eliminate food waste.
  • Use durable plates and flatware to keep paper plates out of the equation or use a compostable substitute, if applicable.
4.) GIFT GIVING
  • Send electronic holiday wishes. Several websites offer a plethora of appropriate greetings for every audience in every season: Blue Mountain, JibJab, 123greetings, even Hallmark.
  • Challenge your co-workers to use their creativity and encourage homemade gifts – think Pinterest!
  • Leave the wrapping paper off, give in reusable bags (the gift that keeps on giving), or use newspaper for wrap instead.
  • Give reusable items like coffee mugs, water bottles, or even gift certificates – and don’t discount re-gifting, someone might actually appreciate that bubble bath gift set from last year!

Between November and January, household waste increases by more than 25 percent, consider applying these tips and others at home, too. Find more waste-saving tips visit these helpful websites from the EPA and Rethink Recycling.

Here’s to surviving the most wonderful time of the year!

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