Head of Retail William Whitechurch is continually looking at the ways in which our retail operation can reduce waste and extend the life of donated goods, and in doing so reduce Prospect Hospice’s environmental impact.
“We’re trying to be greener about everything we do,” says William. “We’re pushing to help the environment while saving costs for the hospice to ensure that the maximum amount of income generated from the shops can go directly to caring for patients and their families.”
The Retail team have recently taken major steps to recycle more. All cardboard, waste metal and failed electrical goods are recycled. Broken bric-a-brac is recycled too, and items that have not sold in our shops are sold on to a broker. Books that don’t sell in our shops are sold to an online buyer or recycled. “Some of the books that we sell are now out of print,” says William. “It’s great to be able to give them another lease of life.”
Head of Retail William Whitechurch pictured with Operations Manager Joanna Golding.
We have also recently invested in a compactor for our warehouse. This compacts waste, reducing our landfill costs and lessening our impact on the environment. Waste from all 17 of our shops is managed centrally at the warehouse, where it is sorted for recycling. The compactor makes waste handling cleaner and safer and, by reducing the volume of waste, is expected to have paid for itself in 14 months.
To further reduce our carbon footprint, our fleet of vans have recently been replaced with newer, larger, more fuel-efficient vehicles. This has already resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in fuel consumption.
We also have a volunteer-run clearance store at Blunsdon Market every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. The store sells items that have not sold in our shops or that are better suited for sale in a market setting. All items are on offer for £1 each and the stall has already made a significant contribution to our income.
“We have made a great start to becoming even more environmentally friendly and, in doing so, we are already seeing costs cut,” concludes William. “It is great that this approach not only benefits our donors in making as much money for Prospect Hospice from their donations as we can, but it is also of real benefit to the environment. We will continue to look at ways in which we can improve.”