The first step to litter reduction is litter prevention. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), an average convenience store will serve 400,000 customers per year or roughly 1,100 per day. Consider this: if each person disposes of just ONE item with each visit, that is a lot of trash. But is that trash ending up in a receptacle or does it become litter at the pump or near the entrance to your store?
Keep America Beautiful (KAB), the nation’s largest community improvement program; developed a checklist that convenience stores can use to reduce unsightly, unsanitary litter. Here are the top questions convenience store operators should consider when looking to reduce litter:
- Are there trash and recycling receptacles in-store near self-serve items like straws, cups, and napkins?
- Are there marked trash and recycling receptacles near the entrance and exit doors as well as near fuel pumps to encourage proper waste disposal?
- Are there cigarette receptacles available for proper tobacco product disposal outside?
Did you know cigarettes are the most commonly littered item due to a lack of disposal options?
- Are there enough trash and recycling receptacles based on the size of the business and the volume of waste?
- Are there trash and recycling receptacles placed in the areas where litter commonly accumulates?
- Are these receptacles the most effective size and style for the space and climate?
- Is there a written, easy-to-understand maintenance schedule for employees?
- Is this schedule based on usage times?
- Does this maintenance schedule include all areas where waste can be littered? (This would include around receptacles, counters, seating areas, floors, restrooms, fuel islands, air stations, parking lot, and car wash areas.)
Convenience Store Grounds Maintenance:
- Are there frequent, regularly scheduled litter removal clean-ups for the property?
- Is there clear, easy-to-understand signage encouraging customers to dispose of their trash and recycling properly in trash and recycling receptacles?
- Is the outdoor area well-lit to avoid hidden litter and ease customers’ ability to locate the proper receptacle?
Shipping and Deliveries:
- Are suppliers required to stack deliveries to prevent litter at the loading dock(s)?
- Do delivery drivers and employees put loose shipping materials into the proper trash or recycling receptacles?
- Are all shipping boxes and containers immediately flattened and placed in the proper recycling containers?
- Are there enough bulk refuse containers, and are they large enough to hold the waste and recycling generated between collection times?
- Are overflows infrequent and cleaned up quickly to prevent litter blowing?
- Do the bulk refuse containers have lids that close tightly?
- Do the contracted haulers use covered trucks to prevent litter blowing?
- Do the contracted haulers pick up trash frequently enough to prevent overflows?
- Is the bulk refuse area kept clean after pick-ups?
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