A person smiling while holding a cardboard box

Mo's convenience store makes big dent in its waste costs

23 Mar 23

Scotland’s waste regulations prompted a small shop to reduce, re-use and recycle – saving thousands and boosting team spirit.

Mo's Convenience Store, a busy shop in the heart of Blantyre, used to produce three 1,200 litre bins of waste a week. Most of this went straight to landfill at a cost of around £320 per month. It sounds staggering but is hardly unusual for a small to medium-sized retail outlet. With our help, they made a few simple changes and managed to reduce waste to just one bin.

A consultation with Zero Waste Scotland alerted Shahid Razzaq to the requirements of 2014's new Waste (Scotland) Regulations. This prompted a whole new approach to waste management and environmental responsibility, and lead to substantial savings over the year.

“I attended a couple of trade shows which is where I found out about the new waste regulations from Zero Waste Scotland and started initial planning into how we can ensure the business will be fully compliant,” says Shahid Razzaq, Mo's owner. “Recycling has been on our radar for a few years now and we are always looking of ways to be environmentally friendly. This gave us a further prompt.”

The store's drive to reduce its waste offers pointers to other businesses seeking to trim their costs, and buff up their eco-credentials.

With our advisors by their side, they started thoroughly sorting their waste into glass, plastics and paper to ensure all recyclable materials were diverted from landfill. This is a simple and effective measure, too often overlooked.

Some different approaches were found to tackle food waste, including discounting and re-using.

“We have a bake-off oven on-site to ensure our bread is fresh, but we were keen to ensure we minimised any wastage,” says Shahid. “Once bread has been on the shelf for a day, we reduce it in price for the next day. Whatever remains unsold at the end of the second day is either given away for free, or in the case of our baguettes, halved and used to make pizza-style flat bread.”

All these measures enabled Mo's to cut waste by two-thirds. The business now puts out just one bin a week. This saw its waste disposal bill shrink from a bulky £320 to a slimmer £82 per month. That adds up to annual savings of £2,856.

Staff engagement is crucial to the success of such initiatives. At Mo's, all eight staff members were briefed on the company's aims, and encouraged to participate and put forward their own ideas.

Building on these sustainable successes, Shahid went on to install energy-efficient LED lighting in the premises, and timers in the fridges. These cut the company's energy bill. A water-efficiency initiative has cut water usage by 20 per cent.

Shahid and his team prove that sustainable practice can become embedded in the day-to-day running of even the busiest store. And that success breeds success, building up to longer-term savings and efficiency.

We're here to help you prevent waste and improve your profitability

Our food and drink waste advisors would be delighted to help your business make similar changes, at low or the phone. Get in touch to find out more, call 0786 433 930 or no cost. We provide advice on site and over email food.drink@zerowastescotland.org.uk.

Our support is funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.