Government-funded business advice group Envirowise will work with four major UK shopping centres to help retailers reduce waste and increase profits.
Individual retail outlets at the Arndale Centre, Luton, the Trafford Centre, Manchester, High Chelmer, Chelmsford, and Gun Wharf Quays, Portsmouth, are able to sign up for free help from Envirowise as part of the on-going scheme. They will then receive an on-site visit from an environmental advisor who will create a waste minimisation plan tailored to the retailer, setting out action and savings targets.
Waste awareness events at each of the shopping centres will explain the importance of 'green' retail to shoppers and promote the involvement of retailers taking part in the scheme.
The initial response to the scheme has been positive, say Envirowise, though they are still in the process of talking to retailers.
Enwirowise programmer director Martin Gibson said: "The true cost of waste to the retail sector is actually 5 to 20 times the disposal cost alone. It includes the value of returns and damaged stock, discarded packaging, and inefficient use of water and energy; not to mention the time and effort spent handling and managing waste."
The concept was conceived by Envirowise along with the British Retail Consortium. A successful pilot project ran at the Arndale Centre in October 2004 before it expanded to the other shopping centres.
The Arndale Centre was the first to launch the campaign on September 17, and the others launch their campaigns this month. Site visits will take place until mid-November, and follow-up impact assessments will be carried out in late February.
Envirowise are launching a similar scheme in the food and drink sector, to help companies make their supply chains more efficient and environmentally friendly. Site visits are again offered to participating suppliers, along with free training workshops covering topics such as waste management, packaging, energy and water minimisation and environmental legislation. Food manufacturer Tate and Lyle have been announced as the first of the five large companies to be participating in the scheme.