Holiday Waste Handling for Retailers

By Solus Group Marketing Team December 3, 2018

For retailers, the holiday season brings more sales, more deliveries, and, as a result, more waste. The problem grows in step with a larger retail environment; last holiday season, retail sales beat predictions by 5.6 percent. Most surprisingly, brick-and-mortar sales grew faster than they had the previous year, suggesting that e-commerce isn’t necessarily ending in-person purchases any time soon.

So whether you sell your wares online, at physical locations or, as is increasingly the trend, through both channels, you need a plan to handle extra waste this holiday season. Here are a few techniques that can limit the impact of holiday retail waste, both in terms of safety and workplace productivity:

  • Consider reusable shipping containers for e-commerce orders.

    It’s almost surprising that this hasn’t reached the mainstream yet, but reusable shipping packages are on the rise. It seems that every week a new startup arrives with an innovative reusable container for online sales. One of these providers could be a match for your business.
  • Conduct a waste audit during the holiday season.

    We know what you’re thinking. Why add one more thing to do during the busiest season of the year? While it’s true that a waste audit won’t help you much this year, it can provide priceless data that will improve your holiday sales season for the years to come. Record volumes of daily waste. Track how much goes to recycling, how much to composting, how much to landfills, and every other waste stream that originates in your store. You’ll uncover opportunities to reduce waste and boost efficiency on all waste-handling tasks.
  • Speed up waste-handling with ergonomic equipment.

    Heavy volumes of waste don’t just cause environmental problems. They also create a serious drain on staff time. To make matters worse, the repetitive actions and difficult lifts associated with bulk loads of waste can injure workers. The way to prevent both of these negative outcomes is to invest in ergonomic equipment designed specifically for waste management.     

Specifically, the holiday season is an ideal time to invest in a fleet of Mobile Bins and Bin Tippers from Solus Group. Bin Tippers remove the ergonomic risks associated with emptying trash cans or larger-scale bins. They also allow a single worker to handle waste receptacles that, in the absence of material handling equipment, might require a whole team.

Unfortunately, holidays aren’t the only high-waste seasons for retailers. A disturbing percentage of post-holiday returns also end up in landfills. According to one recent estimate, as much as 5 billion pounds of returned purchases will end up in a landfill; it’s simply cheaper to throw some items out than it is to repackage and resell them.

While the need for better waste-handling strategies for retailers exists in every season, a better plan will definitely make for a better, more productive holiday season. 


Can Online Retail Solve its Packaging Problem?FastCompany. Fast Company & Inc, 20 Apr. 2018. Web. 9 Nov. 2018. 

Cheris, Aaron. “Post-Holiday Recap and Resolutions for 2018.Bain. Bain & Company, 18 Jan. 2018. Web. 9 Nov. 2018.

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