A Future-Fit Business seeks to eliminate operational waste completely, and while this is an aspirational and long-term goal for thl, it is also a goal that resonates with our crew, a tangible goal that they can connect with.
We have had an established waste audit process in our NZ branches for some time now, and work in partnership with community organisations, Our Daily Waste, Eco Educate, and Talking Rubbish to sort recycling to prevent contamination and to divert reusable items to charities. In Christchurch, this process saves an average of three tonnes of landfill a month, and we also benefit from a 28% reduction in waste costs.
A key goal for 2019 at El Monte RV was to remove single-use plastic bags from the kitchen and bedding kits available for customers to rent. The challenge required us to leverage off the insight gained from the great work done in our Australian locations, and find an appropriate local solution to storing and transporting the bedding and kitchen items to and from the RVs. The Los Angeles Store ran a successful pilot in August to test different approaches and developed a new process replacing single-use plastic bags with reusable laundry bags.
The pilot was a success and this approach is being rolled out to all branches across the USA, avoiding the use of over 20,000 less large plastic bags last year. The team also removed single-use plastic bags from the kitchen items provided, replacing them with a storage box, preventing even more single-use plastic waste. Through the Travel with Heart program, the team is encouraging customers to rent kits rather than buy disposable items.
Reducing waste to landfill was a focus for the US team and in November a three-week sprint project to review and improve the recycling stations was completed for all the EL Monte RV branches. Each branch audited the current recycling arrangements and identified improvements. The key changes made included improved positioning of recycling stations in the outdoor and customer areas, with consistent blue recycling bins and new signage with images showing what can be recycled in each location. The project helped increase awareness of what can be recycled for each location and a recycling quiz was created as a training tool to engage crew in recycling efforts.