There once was a time when sustainability in business was thought to be a fad. Nowadays, green initiatives are no longer just a trend in business, it’s now of vital importance. This is no more obvious than in how many economic advantages there are to going green, such as significant energy savings, marketing opportunities, and fewer health issues among employees.
If you’ve got a smaller retail store, you might find it difficult at first to adopt these practices into your operations, but here are some simple ideas to get you started.
Reuse and recycle your supplies
Going green doesn’t require you to completely overhaul your entire system. Sometimes, it’s as simple as reusing your retail store supplies. Paper, plastic, and any other material that can be recycled should be recycled for use in inventory or internal functions. That being said, you can also try to limit the amount of waste you produce by going digital wherever you can and opting for more durable supplies that don’t need to be replaced every so often. This not only reduces waste production, but it also helps you save money in the long run.
Unplug any electronics
When you close up shop for the day, don’t forget to unplug or shut down any and all computers, cash registers, and appliances for the night. It helps to use a power strip so this can be done easily. Leaving appliances on and plugged, even when not in use, still consumes phantom energy that will manifest itself in expensive energy bills.
Use green cleaning materials
Cleaning products contain plenty of “volatile organic compounds” which are harmful to humans, plants, and animals. These are commonly found in ammonia, dishwashing detergents, and aerosol sprays. You can’t simply stop cleaning or lessen the amount of cleaning you do in your retail store, but you can always opt to use natural and less toxic cleaning products that are good for the environment. You can save even more money by making your own organic cleaning products with water, baking soda, and vinegar.
Opt for energy-efficient appliances
Always make sure that you see an Energy Star certification on any appliance that you purchase for the store, whether that be printers, refrigerators, or light fixtures. This certification ensures that all these products are energy efficient and guaranteed to save you money on energy costs.
Shift to sustainable packaging
Only 14% of all plastic packaging around the world is recycled while the rest of it ends up in oceans and landfills. Furthermore, plastic packaging production accounts for over 10% of the world’s global greenhouse gas emissions.
As much as possible, you should make packaging and receipts optional or get rid of them entirely. Offer incentives to customers who bring their own recycled bags to use or give them an option to pay extra to use your packaging. When it comes to receipts, you can offer digital receipts by email or text. If you can’t completely make the shift towards zero-waste operations, sustainable packaging options are your best bet. Rather than using plastic, you should opt for recycled paper bags and boxes.
With the many incentives and benefits to going green, there’s no better time than now to make your retail store switch to sustainability.