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Waste. Turn on the television, flip through a magazine, or scroll through your social media pages, and you’re bombarded with pictures of beaches that look more like landfills and rivers flowing with plastic. There’s no question that waste is bad for the environment, but it’s also just plain bad for business.
And that’s where the IGA Coca-Cola Institute’s Top 10 Waste Reduction Practices online training course can help. The newest course in conjunction with the Grocery Stewardship Certification (GSC) team, this 18-minute course teaches retailers and their staff how to divert waste from landfills and use it as a revenue source by recycling cardboard and plastics and donating food waste.
"In an industry that has such slim profit margins—a 1.7 percent on average—it's so much easier to cut costs than it is to make sales, " explains Peter Cooke, the GSC program manager. "So even a cost neutral thing like getting the plastic out of the waste stream—even if retailers are not making any money on it, at least they're not spending money to throw it out. If you can avoid the cost in the first place, it's so much more economically beneficial to avoid the cost than to try to cover it with sales."
Starting these sustainable practices is more than good for the environment—it attracts shoppers, too. Cooke says, "The market research shows that more and more customers are becoming interested in the environmental attributes of the products that they're shopping for and the businesses that they go to.
According to Cooke, independent retailers have an opportunity to differentiate from the competition through sustainable practices. "If a grocery store can focus on sustainability and figure out a way to communicate and demonstrate operational sustainability in a way that is authentic and measurable, it’s going to make an impression on shoppers," Cooke says.
IGA retailers can start their sustainability journey by watching the course through the Institute. After that, Cooke recommends starting small. "If I was a grocery store owner, I would be concentrating on cardboard, rigid plastics, and film plastics—which includes the bags," he says.
Preview the 10 best practices below and check out the course to learn how to reduce your store’s waste diversion and recycling rates while boosting revenue.
Now available at the IGA Coca-Cola Institute, Retail Learning Institute, NGA Online Training & Education Center, and at the Free Retail Training site, the Top 10 Waste Reduction Practices Training course teaches you and your team how to cut costs and divert wastes—practices that help your bottom line and the environment.
The first course, Top 5 Grocery Store Energy Savers, is still available at the Institute, and the third course by GSC will focus on hazardous chemicals. Contact GSC for help finding the right resources to start in-store recycling or to implement a larger sustainability effort.