Our retail team are going green!

September 2017


**UPDATE 2018 – the clearance store at Blunsdon Market is no longer running.**

Head of Retail William Whitechurch is constantly looking at the ways in which our retail operation can reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill, extend the life of donated goods, and reduce Prospect Hospice’s carbon footprint.

“We’re trying to be greener about everything we do,” says William, “and 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 those most important to them.”

The retail team have recently taken steps to increase the amount of recycling they do. All cardboard, waste metal (from items such as broken pushchairs) 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 merchant or, if they are too damaged to sell, they are recycled. “Some of the books that we sell are now out of print,” says William, “so it’s great to be able to give them another lease of life.”

We have recently invested in a compactor at our retail warehouse, and this squashes down any waste, bringing down our landfill costs by reducing the volume of what we send. Previously, the Warehouse could fill six standard sized skips and one 40-yard skip in a fortnight; the use of the compactor has meant that this is reduced to just one 40-yard skip, so money is saved on skip hire and collection. Waste from all of the shops is managed centrally at the warehouse, where it is sorted for recycling or to be squashed down using the compactor. A major investment, the compactor is worth £80,000 and we have estimated that it will have paid for itself within 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 and means that more items can be delivered on each trip.

We 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 to a market setting. Items are on offer for as little as £1, and the stall has made a significant impact on our retail income, with the profit this year estimated to be around £42,000.

“We have made a great start to becoming even more environmentally friendly and in doing so are already seeing costs cut,” concludes William. “(something about the successes are clear ?)We will continue to look at ways in which we can improve.”

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