I work for the Gap and know firsthand the amount of waste that’s produced at my store. Can you suggest ways retail stores can reduce waste? And how can I get a conversation started with the people upstairs about recycling and being less wasteful?
— Name withheld, via e-mail

Waste is an issue for all retail operations, given the need to take in and unpack large numbers of individual items and then display and package them up in a way that customers will appreciate.

CalRecycle (California’s Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery) suggests that retailers consider the three R’s—reduce, reuse and recycle—when setting up their sourcing, packaging and related procedures. As for reducing, CalRecycle encourages retailers to ask their suppliers to provide items without excess packaging and to reuse whatever packaging they can. Also, stores can give customers the choice of having their purchases bagged—or give a discount to …