Recycling businesses deal with a lot of waste products, from packaging and deliveries to manufacturing waste. Here we have put together our favourite retail recycling tips to help businesses improve their green credentials.

1. Begin with a strategy

Before you can start to improve your recycling efforts, you need to understand where your waste is currently coming from. Retail businesses usually deal with a lot of recyclable materials, such as paper, cardboard, glass, metal, plastics, textiles and printed materials. Identify where you are wasting materials that can be recycled and where you can replace single-use materials with recyclable alternatives.

2. Invest in a baler for your recycling 

One of the best retail recycling tips is to invest in a baler. Balers are recycling machines that turn recyclable waste such as paper, cardboard and plastic into manageable bales that take up far less room because of their compact shape. Baled waste is much easier for recycling companies to process and some will even pay you for baled waste, meaning you have an extra source of revenue for your business while being more eco-friendly!

3. Reduce packaging

Having too much packaging for your products creates an unnecessarily large carbon footprint, as does using packaging made from non-recyclable waste such as single-use plastics. You should aim to only use recyclable materials where possible and only as much as is completely necessary for each product. Another option is to start making your packages out of recycled material, such as old packaging, which results in a saving both for you and the customer.

4. Partner with like-minded suppliers

Retail businesses are part of a supply chain, with products, raw materials or equipment being purchased from external suppliers. To truly improve your retail business’s recycling credentials, you should make sure you are working with suppliers who share your goals so that there is less waste throughout the whole supply chain. Even if you don’t change suppliers, you can ask your current suppliers to use as little non-essential packaging as possible when delivering your orders.

5. Use reusable bags

For your brick-and-mortar sites, encouraging the use of reusable bags is an easy way to make a difference to your environmental impact. There are a number of ways you can do this, such as by offering your own recyclable bags-for-life for a small fee and donating that fee to organisations that are tackling plastic bag waste, or you could offer an incentive to your customers for bringing their own bags when they shop. You could also offer a trade-in style service where customers can bring their plastic bags to you which you can then take to a local recycling point.

6. Tackle delivery waste

Delivery processes are another area where retailers can improve their recycling processes and reduce waste. If possible, ordering larger shipments less often will likely reduce the amount of packaging and waste when placing your own orders from suppliers or your own warehouses. When sending out deliveries to customers, you could also consider implementing schemes or incentives to reduce the amount of waste, such as buying back the delivery bags which can then be re-used for future deliveries. 

7. Go paperless

One way to reduce your waste altogether is to go paperless where possible. While most paper is recyclable, it is better to prevent the unnecessary use of materials wherever possible. Try to encourage email receipts and use digital copies of invoices and other paperwork.

8. Train staff on the business’s recycling policy

Improving retail recycling requires everyone to be on the same page, not just management. Staff at all levels should be trained on your business’s recycling policy. This should include not only your recycling practices when it comes to your products and services but also your in-house practices, such as using the correct bins for waste. In addition, you should also ensure your staff are fully trained on the handling of all goods, to reduce the chance of breakages and costly waste.


While retailers are inevitably going to deal with high quantities of waste products, there is plenty that can be done to ensure that the waste that is produced is recyclable, minimising the carbon footprint of your business. 

If you are interested in purchasing a baler to improve your recycling processes, you can browse our range of recycling machines or read more about recycling machines for the retail sector