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U.K. Retailers Cut Waste to Landfill in Half

<p>&nbsp;U.K. retailers taking part in the Better Retailing Climate initiative now send less than a quarter of their waste to landfill.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <p> <meta charset="utf-8" /></p>

U.K. retailers taking part in the Better Retailing Climate initiative now send less than a quarter of their waste to landfill.

Twenty-two companies have signed up for the voluntary Better Retailing Climate program, which was launched by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in 2008 with goals for reducing building and transportation emissions along with waste sent to landfill by 2013, using 2005 as a base year.

Five years ago the retailers sent 48 percent of their waste to landfill. Now they send 23 percent, more than halving the amount they trash by reusing, recycling or turning waste into energy through anaerobic digestion. The total weight of waste produced went down 3 percent.

The retailers have also reduced energy-related emissions from buildings and transportation carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 18 percent each. The initiative's transportation emissions goal has been met through changes to distribution routes, swapping in efficient vehicles and sharing space in trucks. And while the retailers are close to the goal of cutting building emissions by 25 percent, they only lowered emissions an additional 1 percent since last year.

To cut building energy, companies have adopted a number of tactics like using automated meter readers, setting up building management systems and switching to low energy lighting.

The retailers plan to set a water reduction goal by 2012, and currently companies that represent 80 percent of total sales measure their water consumption. Last year 55 percent measured their water use.

The BRC's progress report [PDF] on the initiative notes other steps the retailers are taking, such as offering more low-carbon and low-impact products (Forest Stewardship Council certified wood products, local lamb and beef, recycled-content duvets), encouraging employees to recommend energy efficiency ideas and providing various recycling services for customers.

Trash and recycling bins - CC license by Flickr user UofSLibrary

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