World Environment Day

World Environment Day

On World Environment Day (5 June), we look at branches and Supply Chain colleagues leading the way on reducing pollution and meeting growing customer demand for greener options.

Organised by the United Nations, World Environment Day began in 1974, to raise awareness of the global problems facing the environment, and is now widely recognised in more than 100 countries.

Some Post Office branches leading the way on environmentally-friendly changes include:

Blantyre Branch

In Better Retailing Retail News, Mo Razzaq, postmaster of Family Shopper and Blantyre Post Office, Glasgow, Scotland is interviewed about their Deposit Return Scheme (DRS). Mo said: "Customers who return a plastic bottle get a 10p voucher that can be spent at my dessert bar, in store, or donated to charity. The unit has been donated by RVM Systems as part of a six-month trial. An average of 71 bottles were returned each day during the first three weeks.

DRS can boost footfall and bring more customers into your store. Retailers need to understand this is coming, and if they are planning to refit their shops, they need to think about where to put a machine as manual handling could come with more difficulties.

I’ve visited countries like Norway and Estonia, where they have DRS machines and recycling is ingrained into their society. As retailers, we need to continue being part of the discussions to make sure the scheme works for us.

There are smaller machines that can fit into most stores, but I understand it’s different for corner shops. There is a facility for retailers to manually mark returned bottles and place them in a clear bag behind the counter.”

Cloughoge branch

Cloughoge’s Eurospar Mulkerns and Post Office in Newry, N Ireland are selling fruit and veg free of plastic packaging. In an interview with Convenience Store magazine, manager Thomas Magennis said: “Biodegradable bags are more expensive so we decided to cut out bags completely. We weigh loose fruit and veg at the tills anyway. We’ve had positive feedback from customers about the idea, and we hope to see a sales increase in loose items. We’re trying to market ourselves as market leading in reducing carbon footprint. We’re also planning to introduce 20p biodegradeable carrier bags.”

Tenby Branch

Tenby Village Stores and Post Office in Wales, who offer their customers the choice of buying milk and juices in glass bottles. Mr Malone, said: “My wife, Fiona and I, really care about the environment. Living by the sea you see how much pollution is washed up on the beach, so we decided to do something by sourcing reusable glass milk bottles.”

Elsewhere in the business…

Cash goes green

Charlotte Smith, a cash processor at the Birmingham Midway centre and lead Environment Champion for Supply Chain said, “We use thousands of single-use plastic pouches for paper notes and for coin, as well as the large seals on our cages, so we were keen to see how they could be recycled. It took a bit of time to figure out logistics but in a trial at our centre, a recycling company now supplies us with a machine that turns all our plastic pouches into compact bales, which is then collected for recycling”.

“We have now increased our recycling to include single-use plastic seals, in addition to the pouches… as they’re the two plastic products that we use the most within the centre”.

Cleaner deliveries to branches

This year’s World Environment Day theme is “Beat Air Pollution” Rob Leslie, Supply Chain’s Fleet Standards and Policy Manager, is committed to finding new ways to improve our green credentials.

“Our commercial vehicles are all diesel powered at present, in common with most of the transport industry.  Whilst they do offer good fuel efficiency, diesel engine emissions are known to be harmful, so we need to look at less polluting alternatives. 

“We’re looking to trial alternatively fuelled vehicles in the near future on some of our lighter, lower mileage routes.  In the meantime, we’re also investing in replacing our oldest, most polluting vehicles with new vehicles that meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards.”

The telemetry system introduced onto our cash in transit fleet last year, gives drivers user-friendly feedback on their driving style around revving, idling, braking, acceleration and speed (known as RIBAS).  “This data helps us track how we’re doing on our environmental impact” said Rob.

“We set ourselves a target of improving fuel efficiency in the first year (2018/19) by 5%, and I’m pleased to say that we’ve managed to achieve that, with the average miles per gallon increasing across the fleet from 22.6 mpg to 23.9 mpg, saving 35,000 litres of diesel, and reducing our CO2 emissions by 65 tonnes compared with the previous year”.