Managers and owners of malls and shopping centres are faced with the daily challenge of managing waste – an unavoidable by-product of their business. While it can seem like an uphill battle to improve their centre’s waste streams and lower their waste outputs, there are practical steps they can take to better manage the waste at their mall or shopping centre.
Why is managing and reducing waste at malls and shopping centres so important?
Waste reduction can “close the loop”. It is a resource-conversion process within our economic system. The measures put in place for the proper sorting and reduction of waste in malls and shopping centres can contribute towards reincorporating valuable recyclable resources into the circular economy.
Mall owners can help minimise negative effects on South Africa’s environment by reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and ensure the recyclables get into the recycling stream sooner rather than later. There are also financial benefits as waste reduction can also help improve your bottom line (see below). You can rest easy knowing your mall runs as efficiently as possible and contributes towards a better future for our country, which is also good for your centre’s reputation.
7 tips for waste reduction at malls and shopping centres
Cutting down on waste coming out of your mall or shopping centre is easier than you may think. Here are 7 practical, cost-effective steps you can take that are easy to implement.
There are many recycling opportunities available for shopping centres and retailers. Recycling is the easiest and most logical way to reduce waste. Any items that would have gone to a landfill can now go into a different waste stream. Recyclable materials can be reused and get a new life. Recycling is easy when you partner with a recycling company that understands the industry and works towards measurable reductions in waste being generated by the shopping centre.
Recycling initiatives can also assist in job creation. The first recyclable items that come to mind are paper and cardboard packaging, however other recyclable waste like glass, plastic and cans generated by mall tenants must also be separated for recycling collection.
Sort waste on site
Instead of paying for ever-increasing refuse removal, you can partner with a waste management service provider that will sort your waste on site. Our trained staff work with sorters at your site (either placed by yourselves or Mpact Waste Management) to educate and train on best practises when it comes to sorting the waste on site. The purpose of this is to separate recyclable materials from non-recyclable material so that as little waste as possible ends up going to landfill.
This means that the amount of waste upliftments that you need to pay for will be drastically reduced. You’ll automatically benefit from a better environmental score and increase the sustainability of your shopping mall.
On-site recycling management services help in the identification of the various materials that are recyclable. Having Mpact Waste Management as your waste management partner means that your hazardous waste (that is non-recyclable) will be disposed of ethically and responsibly through the correct disposal solutions available. We adhere to all laws and regulations during waste separation, and we adhere strictly to the National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008 and municipal bylaws.
Hire an environmentally conscious waste management company
Not all waste management companies are alike. Does your current waste management provider apply a waste management programme designed to meet your unique needs and benefit the environment? Do they consider the negative impacts of each step of the process? Best practise waste management should include transparent waste disposal processes and costs, better energy efficiency, a lower carbon footprint and proof of contributions to the circular economy.
Start waste reuse initiatives
Reuse is known as a simple way to benefit the future of our planet, but did you know you can start reuse initiatives on a small scale? It’s about more than reusing glass jars. Malls and shopping centres create large scale food waste which can be reused and recycled into compost with the innovative BiobiN®, which Mpact Waste Management implemented with our Westfalia client with much success. The BiobiN® is placed on site and serves as an on-site composting solution with two sorters on site, who have been trained to handle the recycling and the BiobiN®.
The BiobiN® assists with partial decomposition on site. The addition of the BiobiN® on site means the volume of waste that previously went to landfill is reduced, as the client’s organic waste is now diverted and worked into composting heaps at a composting facility, located in Springfield, Gauteng.
The BiobiN® goes a long way to sustain the future of our environment and contribute to a true circular economy. This is a good news story that mall owners and managers can tell shoppers, retailers, and investors.
Improve waste management systems
If you manage your centre’s waste removal proactively, you can save a lot of money. Actions as simple as emptying compactors when they are full can make a difference. To take your sustainability to the next level, however, it’s best to get an expert on-site waste management service that will enhance and improve your centre waste management.
You can further conduct a waste audit to see if your waste is being processed correctly. A waste audit is structured to quantify the type of waste your shopping centre or mall produces. The audit will assess the amount of waste generated by your shopping centre and can help you find gaps in your waste streams. From an audit, a good waste management company can provide you with an excellent strategy that will be better for the environment and for your profit margins. We offer a free waste audit and have helped many clients greatly reduce their waste through this commitment-free first step.
Use chemical-free cleaning solutions and energy-efficient appliances
Yes, malls and shopping centres can save on energy costs. Replacing the lighting in the buildings and stores with energy-efficient high-performance LED and fluorescent bulbs is a good place to start. Using tools that make your energy use more economical, such as timed light controls to turn off lights when they are not needed, is a great second step.
You can also save money and reduce your environmental impact with safe cleaning products. Hire cleaning services that use safe, effective and, above all, chemical-free solutions wherever possible.
Educating the people who frequent your mall/shopping centre is key and will help you in your waste reduction. Your shopping centre should have enough processes in place so that shoppers are encouraged and nudged to separate their recyclables. This can be done by placing separate highly visible recycling and rubbish bins in high shopper-traffic areas or in the food court. Continue to encourage shoppers to reuse shopping bags or bring their own. Through interventions like these, recycling awareness will soon become a norm and a habit. Including an education programme on recycling in the orientation of new shopping mall staff members is a positive and strategic move.
By working together, everyone in South Africa can make a difference. The sustainability of our environment lies in the impact we have on the world and putting positive changes into action that make it better for everyone.