Reducing waste in a shop

Energy efficiency

Heating your shop is expensive. Ensure the door is kept closed except when in use to help maintain the temperature. Invest in an automatic closing mechanism if one is not already installed. The fitting of draught excluders will also help to prevent heat loss, improve comfort and cut costs.


Refrigeration can account for 70% of your energy bill. Locate fridges and freezers away from heating vents and radiators. Consider doors or PVC curtains on your industrial refrigeration equipment as it will improve energy efficiency and reduce your bills.

Sustainable procurement

The Waste (Scotland) Regulations require you to consider sustainability in all areas of your business. For disposable items, such as single-use beverage cups, consider purchasing products that are fully recyclable and have a high recycled content. It is also beneficial to purchase equipment that will accept reusable cups and containers.

Out-of-date stock

Consider donating unwanted, good-quality, edible food that would otherwise be wasted, to organisations that distribute surplus food to disadvantaged members of society. This will also reduce the amount of food waste requiring segregated disposal through the introduction of the Waste (Scotland) Regulations.

Food miles

Customers are increasingly seeking local sourced produce that reduces the food miles – helping improve quality, freshness and sustainability. Procuring sustainable local food can also help support the farmers and community as a whole.


Encourage your customers and staff to recycle items purchased from your shop in their kerbside collection or at a recycling centre. Simple posters and signage can help encourage them to do the right thing.

Reusable bags

Encourage your customers to bring their own reusable bags with them. This could be a ‘bag 4 life’, rucksack, jute bag or even a previously used store carrier bag. Consider charging customers a small amount to purchase single-use bags to encourage use of more sustainable alternatives.

Environmental policy

Displaying your business’s environmental policy promotes a commitment to comply with legislation and to manage the environmental effects of your operations. This helps guide your staff and improve your reputation with customers.

Stock control systems

Using a shelf life-based stock control system can reduce the amount of stock discarded and reduce waste disposal costs. Pharmacy items should be checked on a monthly basis and discounting should be considered for items nearing their use by date.


Install heat reflectors to the walls behind radiators; these will improve their efficiency at relatively low cost. Ensure heaters and radiators are kept clear by not placing furniture in front of them and check boilers regularly (a serviced boiler can save up to 10% on heating costs).


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