In my ten plus years of retail business employment I saw a shocking amount of waste. Green business practices were simply not a concern with some of my former employers. They threw away thousands of dollars worth of seasonal merchandise yearly. Recycling was never utilized. Employees paychecks became lower while waste grew higher. Here are some green business practices they could have implemented.
Buy only what you can sell
Buyers in a retail business often get carried away by over buying. They get a better price by purchasing large quantities of merchandise. Unfortunately, much of this merchandise is thrown away after end of the season clearance sales. This is because the store must make room for new merchandise. This practice is extremely wasteful and damaging to the environment. Therefore, a green business should buy only what they can sell, or at least have a plan for the excess.
Mark the price once
A retail business spends thousands of dollars per year in man power and price tags used for marking down seasonal clearance items. Even modern stores with scanners list clearance prices on the shelves. A green business saves time, money and paper by marking the price once. Clerks know which items are seasonal and can take the discount at the register. In automated stores, the new price can be programmed into the computer. This also puts tag switching thieves out of business.
Seasonal merchandise leftovers
Even the most careful buyers in retail can occasionally misjudge and over buy. In a green business, items not sold as clearance shouldn't be thrown away. Holidays and the change of seasons come every year. Save unsold clearance merchandise for the next year. Limited storage? At least, donate seasonal leftovers to charity for a tax write off.
Conserve paper and plastic
A green retail business makes good use of every item. Coupons and store policies should be printed on the back of receipts. Business forms should be printed only when needed. Paperwork used in meetings can be reused as scrap. Shredded paper can be used as packing material. Ask customers if they need a bag, don't just give it to them.
Make recycling convenient and well implemented.
Shoppers and employees have been spoiled with convenience. Providing separate, clearly marked recycling bins in the break room and customer areas makes recycling easier. Be sure to empty bins frequently. One green business practice my old job did have in place was the recycling of cardboard through a service. Unfortunately much cardboard was thrown away due to late pick ups. Having ecofriendly practices in place does no good unless they are used consistently.
Many times retail business owners don't think of implementing this common green business practice. This is unfortunate for their employees. Carpooling saves gas money and cuts down emissions. All it takes is a sign up sheet in the break room to get this green business practice started.
This article was previously published by this author on Yahoo!, then updated and revised for Examiner.