Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Recycling and Waste

Waste Reduction in Convenience Stores

Reducing waste and helping protect the environment is everyone's business. And it's good business to cut down on the waste you have to get rid of. Here are some tips to help you reduce the amount of garbage you throw out by practicing the three Rs.

Reduce First

Not creating garbage in the first place is the best way to deal with it. For example:

Cycle your stock on a first in first out basis. That way, there will be less chance of running into out-of date stock you have to throw away.

Buy in bulk and dispense to your customers, where possible. Individually packaged servings create more packaging.


Consider reusable containers for some of your products. Discuss this with your suppliers to see if there are any opportunities to take back and refill empty containers, crates or packaging for products you buy frequently.

Sell reusable coffee mugs - and offer discounts to those who use them. This helps the environment and increases customer loyalty.


If you are selling beverages, you'll need to set up a recycling container so your customers can put their empties into it. The container can be any type but should be clearly marked to distinguish it from garbage cans and labelled as to what should go into them.

Corrugated cardboard makes up a large portion of the retail trade's garbage. Clean uncontaminated corrugated cardboard must be recycled. Discuss recycling options with your garbage hauler, another collector, an Enviro-Depot or your municipality. You might be able to put recyclables at the curbside for collection, you could set up a separate bin for recyclables to be picked up by your hauler, or you could take small quantities to your nearest Enviro-Depot.

Enviro-Depots are usually not able to handle large quantities of corrugated cardboard arriving at once from the commercial sector. However, you may be able to make alternative arrangements with them or they might suggest other recyclers in the area who can help you.

Solid Waste Regulations

The Department of the Environment has introduced a Waste/Resource Management Strategy to help solve our garbage problems. Among other things, these regulations require:

Retailers are required to charge a deposit on beverage containers, excluding milk and milk products. A beverage container is anything that is ready to drink, sealed by the manufacturer and less than 5 litres in size.

The customer should be able to see the deposit as a separate item on the cash register slip. If your register is not programmed to handle this, a stamp or hand written statement that deposits have been paid on all beverage containers is enough.

A retailer must display a notice that a deposit will be charged on beverage containers; a refund is available at an Enviro-Depot for the returned container; the location of the nearest Enviro-Depot and its hours of operation.

Retailers must provide litter bins as well as containers for recyclable materials. Each container should be clearly marked so your customers know what goes into each.

For more information on the Solid Waste/Resource Management Regulations or waste management and the three Rs contact your nearest Nova Scotia Dept of the Environment office.

One more thing.....

Sound waste management using the three Rs is only one part of protecting the environment for ourselves and the future. Consider these and other environmentally friendly tips:

Install energy efficient appliances and lighting.

Choose freezers and coolers with doors to reduce energy costs. A simple sign on the fridge door "Make your selection before you open the door" also cuts down on energy loss.

Many customers respond to environmental concerns. If you stock environmentally friendly products or take environmental initiatives, advertise it.

Protecting the environment is good business. Make it yours.

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