Making Your Shop More Environmentally Friendly.




About: A Northern Ireland based maker with a propensity to cause trouble and freshly constructed family.

This 'ible is aimed at both cashiers and the higher ups like managers and supervisors.

The aim is to reduce your shop's environmental impact.

Other benefits include lowering the running costs of your shop and dealing with less waste and inbound orders of consumables.

Step 1: Starting Simple.

Now this is one of the most obvious ones in the world but still many just don't think.

Printing unnecessary receipts is incredibly wasteful, unless someone pays by card or cheque then don't print a receipt unless they ask for one, it's wasteful, bad for the environment and cost the shop money in wasted receipt paper which is heat sensitive and not that cheap from what I remember about our old fax machine.

Other advantages include not having to empty your bin box under your till as often and not having as much to pay for waste removal.

Step 2: Electricity...

There are loads of ways to lower your shop's energy usage, starting with your fridges and freezers, especially the open ones.

Make sure they are well stocked, this prevents the cold air 'falling' out and being replaced with warmer air that then must be cold by the freezer or fridge.

Keep the lights in fridges off until they're needed in the evenings, there just sitting there wasting energy when it's light.

Always remember to pull your covers down on the likes of open drinks chillers when the night's up, it saves alot of energy.

Make sure all your fridges and freezers are running well and properly serviced, this is good for both reliablity and keeping them running efficiently.

If you have large backup freezers make sure that you're only using the ones you need and keeping empty ones off.

Step 3: Electricity Continued.

Make sure all your bulbs like the office ones are changed to CFL's and that they're only on when they need to be.

Turn off any unnecessary electronics around the, you'd be surprised how many random machines are on all the time when they don't need to be, this is usually caused by refits of the computer systems and some old stuff will remain but be unused.

Turn off tills that aren't used most of the time, in smaller shops there is usually a third till that isn't used except in times like christmas, it doesn't need to be on all year round.

Make sure any outside signs with lighting aren't turned on when it's still light outside, there's just no point at all, also check the paper shed light isn't left on.

Step 4: Other Things Around the Building.

Make sure your toilets have been fitted with low flow blocks or are low flow toilets, fit low flow aerators to taps, Since you're paying business rates you may aswell save any money you can on them.

Make sure you're only using the air conditioning and heating when necessary, on a just kinda warm day opening the doors can be just as effective and attract customers.

Be sensible and efficient when adjusting stock orders, this will help minimize wastage and save energy, money and space used up storing goods that were ordered unnecessarily. It also lower environmental impact by reducing the amount of stuff being driven around the countryside in lorries.

With wastage always do lots of date checking and be careful about how and when to reduce short dated stocks, some things will sell without reduction better because customers can be snotty about reduced goods. Reducing things slightly earlier and reducing less can save money and waste at the consumer end of things.

Always remember to turn off the hot food oven after it's empty, this can be forgotten so easily and is barely noticeable. Lowering the setting of the heat slightly is also better for the environment and sales, by the end of the day the food will be burnt to a crisp if set too high, it can be hot enough to eat at around the middle setting.

Step 5: Plastic Bags.

This is the mac daddy of hot topic problems at the moment.

Recently our shop tried to cut them out and it was getting close to lynchings...

You can reduce the usage of plastic bags in alot of different ways, I tried a little social experiment and found that phrases like:

  • Bother with a bag, or just leave it?
  • Do you need a bag?
  • That be ok like that?

Also if they buy a paper or magazine and a few other things setting them neatly on the counter makes people more likely to take them away as is and even if they must have a bag you can just slide everything in to it.

If they have other plastic bags on them it's worth saying 'Need a bag or just chuck it in that one?'

Do remember to suggest bags for life or leave them on display in the till area, you'll find that people will be interested in the likes of the cotton tote bags and will be more susceptible to buying one.

Generally persuading people to part with free plastic bags is hard but if you warn them that you'll soon be stopping them or charging you'll find a sharp rise in customers bringing their own bags or getting a bag for life.

Step 6: The Roundup.

This is really just an introduction to lowering your shop's environmental impact but anything is better than nothing.

Some final additions are to:

Use a compactor and recycle your cardboard.

Put all plastic packaging in bags and send away for recycling.

Try to lower waste and wastage anywhere possible, the likes of products that don't really go off can always be sold for extremely low prices to recoup some of any losses made and to help keep them from being wasted competely.

Hopefully some of these tips can help lower the running costs and environmental impact of your shop, any suggestions, additions and comments are welcome.




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    54 Discussions


    10 years ago on Step 6

    There is a good reason for printing a receipt for every transaction. Without a printed receipt, employees may ring up a sale, but cancel it out, and pocket the money; this became a problem, hence the increased frequency of the receipt-for-every-transaction policies. In many US businesses, you can find signs that say, "If we don't give you a receipt, your purchase is FREE." In this way, the customer helps the company keep tabs on the validity of a transaction. One faked transaction will certainly cost a company more than their entire receipt roll for the day. And customers have their own incentive to make sure they get a receipt.

    14 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 6

    Aye but now all computer systems show both void transactions and receipts, I was actually shouted at for using the mark down to void things where the scanner went a bit nuts, it comes up with security alerts for multiple voids to stop this system, obviously in older shops the receipt system is a great idea, however in many shops it has become redundant...


    Yep and now lots of video systems will show all the cash register input so you can watch and review it with easy, allowing store owners to catch the more interesting scams some employees try and play.... Killerjackalope.. Great Ible And about the sign lighting, even if you always turn off the lights, install a light sensor switch and take the time to set it correctly, so if you or one of your employees forgets, it never will... I like the part about turning off the freezer lighting, I see some new big box stores are using motion sensors mounted to the tops of there freezers to turn on and off lighting while no one is around, and they have also started to swap out fluorescent tubes with led lighting to reduce the heating inside the freezer


    The only time I seen them turn off is first thing in the morning, I guess it takes 15 min with no movement to turn them off and the motion sensors are linked together so they turn on several freezers as you walk down the isle, I though it was neat, and kinda wished they would turn off behind me, almost like the little man in the freezer who we all know hides there and turns off the light while your not looking was following me ... But I did really like the LED lighting, they used a very cool blueish white LED so you got the feeling it was cold which added to the presentation, and they where using warm white LED's in there lighted display cases as well...


    Those sound pretty sweet, there's a carport that's not been set up yet witht eh magic PIRs, it turns off as soon as movement stops, our stays on for five minutes... It occurs to me that the time needs to be shorter, more like thirty seconds, seems short but at 30 seconds most people will have been and gone, even if they stay most shoppers aren't still for that amount of time and PIR's are pretty sensitive... Another idea would be for closed fridges to have switches in the door like at home, since they only need to be on to see inside, the stuff in teh front row is illuminated just fine by the shop lights...


    I think in a store the door switch is just asking the customer to open the door and hold it open, letting out the cold air, but going PIR motion and a short delay it'll get there attention as well, I can see kids going look mommy as they run up and down the freezer isle, ((( ya little thing's like this amuse kids to no end ))) and while there mother is yelling at them she might see something she likes and then she'll buy it ....


    Hmm, that actually sounds better now that I think about it, in general it's hard to find a balance, the PIR is probably a better option but they'll use more energy on the other hand switch fridges could dent sales and also lose energy from people misusing them...


    A good PIR should only use a fraction of a watt, radio shack used to sell one that chimed, I used it over the door so you know some one has come into the store and a nine volt battery would last half a year .... Yep I left the door open like you said in your Ible and personally I think customers liked the door being open and I liked the PIR chime.......


    I meant that the lights would be on longer and more often, PIR energy usage is negligible for almost any application... Customers are attracted and welcomed by and open door, it's a very welcoming sign, especially on days when the weather is extreme, if you wear a coat for work on a cold day and leave the door open sales should be helped, simply because the shop also looks like shelter, making it more appealing to impulse buyers...


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    Here in SoCal I actually get mad at open doors. A/C is essential almost year round, and most malls are outdoors. I can feel the cool air pouring out of the open doors! Every time I walk up to my shop I have to un-prop the door, except on cool days. People give the "inviting" excuse, but here it is viewed as wasteful, not to mention hard on the equipment. If you "must" keep the doors open, consider a swamp cooler as they need to have open doors to work well.


    I was speaking at a big conference the other day in a hotel and the bathrooms were a great setup, they turned off after a minute or two of non motion and every time I walked in and it was empty they were off, even if someone wasn't out the long, if you stood still they didn't turn off unless you could hide from the sensor which makes me think the system was a comparison one... Anyway i thought it was one of the best systems like this I've ever seen.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    That can simply be prevented by requiring a manager key to cancel anything. It sounds like a pain in the butt, but I worked in a big (and popular) supermarket, and it only very rarely interrupted the flow of checking out.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction had much more decisive customers than I did, then (when I worked a cash register so many eons ago). It seems like a third of the people who went through would have something they decided they didn't want, or would somtimes even just walk out after everything was rung up. If I'd had to wait for a manager each time, the manager would have had to stay by my elbow the whole shift.


    9 years ago on Step 5

    My company stopped using plastic bags a long time ago. I would sometimes get people who complained, but I would just say "we don't have any artificial jellyfishes!" My customers are boaters so they understood.

    A good name

    9 years ago on Step 6

    Nice instructable... it seems a bit cliche as far as CFLs, but quite a few of the others were Good... when ever I go up to the stores in our neighbourhood, I just bring my bike bags, but some employees there (The German woman who yells a lot, comes to mind) will just put everything in a bag anyways.

    1 reply
    killerjackalopeA good name

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    Thanks, well I suppose CFLs and other lower wattage lighting's a given, but it's worth mentioning anyway... There's a guy at my local shop, when you buy everything he won't put it in a bag, but if you make any move to pack it in either your own bag or one of theirs he snatches it away and packs a bag for you...


    10 years ago on Step 5

    In South Africa the government has passed legislation whereby the shopper has to pay for the bags. And 9 times out of 10 people with single items dont take the bags. The main reason for this is to cut down on polution. Alot of our shops have introduced thicker fabric type reusable bags which cost alot more, But when you go to the supermarket you take them with so you dont have to buy more bags.