Dixons Retail works with a wide range of public and private sector groups to reduce the impacts of our business on ecosystems and resources. Here are details of just a few of our partnerships.
Managing spent batteries
The UK generates 20,000 - 30,000 tonnes of waste batteries every year, but less than 1,000 tonnes are recycled. (Figures from WasteOnline). The EU Batteries Directive requires the collection of 25% of all household batteries for recycling by 2012. We sit on the UK Government's advisory group on batteries, and all Currys and PC World stores have specialist battery containers to collect batteries used in-store. These are then recycled by G&P Batteries. We've also been working with the Government funded Waste & Resources Action Programme 'WRAP' to trial the collection of customer batteries.
Carrier bags – less packaging, more recycling
Our customers continue to require carrier bags and we are working to reduce the impact that bags have on the environment. There is growing legislative pressure in some EU countries to move away from plastic to paper. However, evidence has shown that plastic is a far more appropriate material for carrier bags (being durable and waterproof) and also that the life-cycle of a plastic carrier bag has less impact on the environment that that of paper. For these reasons we are supplying plastic bags while taking steps to produce a more sustainable bag.
In 2002 we altered the design of our carrier bags to reduce the amount of material used per bag. This produced the annual equivalent total saving (in weight of bags produced) of 262 tonnes of plastic. Bag strength remained unchanged. During late 2003, we became the first major retailer to offer 100% recycled content carrier bags, helping to save non-renewable resources and reducing the need for landfill or other disposal. Research shows that every tonne of new recycled content bags made saves 1.8 tonnes of oil. We are working to introduce similar bags through our whole business.
The size of many of the products we sell (fridges, ovens, computers, televisions and so on), our pattern of distributing bags is just one bag per £500 spent in our stores, but we are working on plans to reduce our carrier bag consumption.
Climate change & energy consumption
As a consumer of energy and a retailer of energy -sing products we have identified CO2 emissions as one of our key impact areas. In addition to working with organisations such as the Carbon Trust to understand how our own CO2 reductions that can be reduced, we encourage suppliers to design energy efficient products.
We work closely with the Energy Savings Trust and have support its Energy Savings Week by providing free delivery and installation on Energy Saving Recommended products, and hosting in-store sessions with the Energy Savings Trust's 'Energy Doctors'.
PC World is trialling a space age lorry with NYK to distribute stock to stores. The aerodynamic RoadMouse, so called because it is shaped like enormous computer mouse, reduces the fuel consumption by 20%. Each equivalent journey can be carried out using by 10% less fuel and the new vehicles provide 10% more storage capacity.
The need for greater water efficiency is becoming ever more evident. Non-Governmental organisation Waterwise works to reduce water use across the UK, and Currys sponsors a section on the Waterwise web site that ranks all water using products in terms of their efficiency. Please visit www.waterwise.org.uk for more information. We have been providing new water saving devices to stores to fit into staff toilet cisterns. More than 3,000 have been installed, each saving a litre of water at every flush!