Reducing Waste

Linda’s Flowers & Gifts is on the corner of California and Admiral in West Seattle. Yesterday, as I was going around the corner, I noticed a sign in the front window bearing the universal “recycle” symbol and the words “Vases Here”.

I thought this was clever.  As one of the lucky people who receive a fair number of floral arrangements each year, I periodically have to clear out the used glass vases the flowers were delivered in.

Doing a little internet research, I found only about a half-dozen florists anywhere in the USA who stated on their websites that they will recycle clean, used glass vases.  

I don’t believe Linda’s, or any other neighborhood florist, is going to significantly reduce their costs by reusing recycled vases, but in many small businesses, every penny counts.  The greater value lies in building customer loyalty.  Any time you become the solution to a problem – you will earn a customer’s valued business!  Helping us reduce waste is a way to set yourself apart from competitors.

Other businesses welcome customers’ recycling.  Meeker Cleaners in Kent is happy to take used hangers and even safety pins.  Once I move my dry cleaning to the standardized hangers I use in my closet, I toss the hangers and safety pins back into the basket to take back with my next batch of dirty clothes.

Have you switched to the compact fluorescent bulbs?  They require special disposal.  Bartell Drugs here in the Pacific Northwest will help you safely recycle these bulbs as well as medications, rechargeable batteries and cellphones!

Office Depot gives you credit for empty printer ink cartridges.

Each of these businesses are helping customers to reduce waste.  In some cases, perhaps they are able to reuse items we bring in, such as hangers, safety pins or glass vases.  In other cases, they are just providing a service to the community.  In every event, they are building good will and inspiring customer loyalty.

Is there something YOUR customers could recycle to you that would have win-win benefits for your business?  Do you sell an item customers need to dispose of once used or out of date?  By offering a recycling program for the old, you are more likely to be the place they buy the “new”.

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