Last week my wife Debbs and I made the controversial decision to remove the bin outside our store. In these eco-conscious times it might seem like an odd thing to do, but quite frankly we were sick and tired of drivers clearing out their dirty van and car dashboards and filling our bin with waste not generated by us.

We carried out a ‘survey’ of the bin contents a few weeks ago and shockingly less than 20% of the waste came directly from our store.

It wouldn’t be such a big problem if it weren’t for the fact we are being charged increasing amounts by our local waste collector. If we exceed the weight we are allowed, we get hit with a surcharge, so we felt it was time to take a stance.

There is little to no appreciation from the public there is a cost linked to waste disposal for businesses.

We aren’t leaving people without an alternative – there is a large public bin on the green opposite the store – and we are encouraging staff to offer to take wrappers from items bought such as ice creams and to return used coffee cups to us for recycling.

It will be interesting to see what kind of an impact the change has. Obviously, if we notice a sudden increase in litter outside the store then we’ll review our decision, 
but I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that.

When it comes to waste we all have a role to play. Suppliers need to find feasible ways of reducing waste (selling more loose products is not a practical solution for small stores). Consumers have a social responsibility to deal with their waste responsibly, and retailers need to play their part, but it can’t come at the cost of already pressurised margins.