Trash is Now Fashionable By John Stanley It must be at least a decade ago that I started seeing recycle bins appear in garden centre car parks in New Zealand and Australia. Many retailers found that they were not the success they thought they would be and removed them from the parking lot. But, everything has its time, and recycle bins are now fashionable and trendy. It is time to promote your recycling policy again and be seen as a trendsetter. As in many trend-setting strategies we need government and leading retailers on side. When it comes to trash, according to researchers, 35 to 40% of the average household rubbish started its life in your local supermarket and it is therefore this industry that can have the greatest impact. In the U.K. by 2010 every Local Authority, by Law, must have in place a kerbside recycle collection programme. In the U.K it is Tesco and Sainsburyï¿½s that have looked on this as an opportunity to be seen as trendsetters in the marketplace. The old recycle bins have gone, if youï¿½re a trendsetter, you need a trend setters image and those recycle bins are not the image you want, if youï¿½re perceived as being a market leader. As I write this article, Sainsburyï¿½s have introduced new recycle bins into six U.K. stores and Tesco have introduced five centres into the scheme. Many readers will argue that many stores have a recycle policy. In fact, my local shopping centre has a recycle facility in Perth, but these flagship stores in the U.K. are taking recycling a lot more seriously. Tesco and Sainsburyï¿½s are making their recycle centres a real focus of the offer at the supermarkets. The recycle unit is well lit, provided under a weather canopy and the bins are colour coded to help the customer. Behind all the customer friendly faade are conventional Eurobins that can easily be rotated when they are full. The Tesco bins actually compress the product on site to reduce the bin recycle times and reduce handling costs. A bin that would normally take 60kg of uncrushed plastic can now handle 750kg of plastic. Why Should Consumers Bother? Why recycle rubbish back at the retailerï¿½s site, when consumers can do it at home? Consumers often get money off vouchers or the store donates to local charities based on material collected. The aim of the retailer is to corner market share by recycling and getting customers to come back more often. The supermarkets concerned are also trying to reduce the amount of packaging on their products. One example of this was Easter 2005 when Sainsburyï¿½s reduced its Easter egg packaging and saved a tonne of packaging and ironically sales increased. One of the main ï¿½vehiclesï¿½ driving the initiative is for supermarkets to be seen as socially responsible. The next stage will be compostable packaging in the fruit and vegetable departments. What does this mean for Garden Centres? Garden Centres should be at the vanguard of this process. Those old pot recycle units probably need a lick of new paint. They can now be branded and become a real positive promotion within your business. You should also have a garden care recycling programme to enable consumers to bring back bottles and other containers when they have finished with them. The goal posts are moving and you need to move with them.