Waste and Recycling
Our approach to waste and recycling is the same as what you can do at home: “use less and recycle more.”
Households in almost all New Zealand cities and towns have access to recycling and the cost is covered in council rates. Business recycling is very different. It is generally only reliably available in cities and major towns and the associated cost is not covered in Council rates. As business recycling is generally expensive this just encourages us to find the best solution possible solutions for our stores and distribution centres. We have different solutions with several different recyclers across the country. If there is no local recycler, we will send material to the nearest provider.
The Warehouse is a founding member of the Public Place Recycling Scheme, which funds recycling bins and recycling services in public areas around the country – so we are helping you recycle when you are out and about.
We take reducing our waste seriously, because it is important for both the environment and the business. Over the past year, we have focused on improving recycling at our stores in small towns as they typically have the most limited recycling services.
We can now recycle more materials at these stores, and these materials are collected from stores where historically they were freighted to recyclers in the major centres. Avoiding this freighting reduces roadfreight emissions because rather than a store sending a single load on a truck, our recyclers’ pick up multiple loads in the area and freight all of it at once.
Nationally, recycling of polystyrene and hard plastics (particularly plastic numbers 5, 6 and 7) remains a challenge. In the past 12 months, we have had some recyclers stop taking these materials. However, we are continuously investigating new solutions for recycling these waste products.
Implementing better recycling services is one of two fundamental parts of reducing landfill with the other being engaging stores to recycle more. Over the past year, we have been strengthening our processes of engaging stores by providing greater information on the impact of landfill, together with waste audits and best-practice examples. This is reinforced by transparent reporting and senior management consistently highlighting the importance of reducing landfill. The impact of this engagement has been significant in many parts of the Group and has seen reductions of up to 30% in some locations.
A significant waste stream for the North Island Distribution Centre is wooden pallets. We reuse as many as possible but always have an excess as well as many broken, unusable pallets. These pallets are now taken by Reharvest, which fixes as many of the broken pallets as possible with the unfixable ones processed into garden bark that is sold at The Warehouse stores nationwide.
October 2016 will see the inaugural The Warehouse Great Community Clean-up. This event, in partnership with Neighbourly, encourages The Warehouse team members and Neighbourly members to volunteer their time to clean up their local communities.