Retailer pledge helps Lower Precinct Coventry bag top environment award

Nicola Cormell, Centre Manager, and Jonathan Merris, Operations Manager

Coventry’s Lower Precinct is set to be recognised at the Houses of Parliament when the team collects an award for its waste management efficiencies. The city centre shopping mall will receive a Green Apple award from the annual event that rewards and promotes environmental best practice across the UK.

Lower Precinct has been named one of this year’s Green Apple award winners in the waste management category, with the centre’s Recycling Hub taking centre stage. The dedicated service area for waste disposal is used across the shopping centre – by all retailers and service providers – and last year saw over 30 tonnes of waste recycled, which accounted for 89.1% of the centre’s total waste.

Nicola Cormell, Centre Manager, said: “Waste Management sits high on our agenda and remains at the heart of our operations. Last year we continued to implement new strategies to reduce waste generated and sent to landfill. The Recycling Hub sits at the heart of this, with areas dedicated to all recycling and food waste.

The aim of our waste management initiatives is to reduce the negative impact on the natural environment and ensure that landfill is the absolute last option, which helps reduce air and water pollution. Our efforts not only save energy and reduce the effect on the environment, but also maximise value for money for our retailers, and educate our customers about how we operate responsibly.

I am delighted that our efforts are not only making a difference to the local environment, but are also being recognized nationally.”

Lower Precinct has introduced a scheme called ‘Change Champions’, who work with retailers and the internal team to educate them to maximise efficiencies.

Jonathan Merris, Lower Precinct’s Operations Manager, added: “Implementing changes can be a challenge, with stores ranging from independents to multinationals so we introduced ‘Change Champions’ across the business, to influence retailers and ensure that we follow best practice; all of which is backed by a formal electronic audit process, communicated via our internal marketing channels.

“We asked our store managers to sign a pledge to adapt their policies to fit in with our overall processes, which isn’t always a simple task especially in larger flagship stores. When you have high staff numbers working every day, store-wide recycling and energy efficiency is no mean feat. Likewise, we have different contractors on site every week; whether it’s cleaning and security staff, or specialist companies to deliver one-off services, we have to manage the way in which they work when they’re here at the centre.

“Having upwards of 30 stores operating daily and around 200,000 people visiting our centre each week means that our actions can have a real impact on the environment, and that’s why it’s so important to us to take measures. We are delighted with our retailers’ and suppliers’ dedication to Lower Precinct’s waste management efforts, and we’re picking up this award because of them.”

In addition to the ‘Change Champions’, the centre recently invested in a new compactor to increase the recycling of plastic wrapping, working alongside the existing compactor used for card and paper; both of which maximise productivity. These efficiencies are also seen within the mall, with micro fibre cleaning techniques introduced, reducing the need for chemicals and products.

Lower Precinct aims to make recycling part of everyday life, as the key to the sustainability of the planet for future generations. The centre will collect a Green Apple award for waste management at the inaugural ceremony at the Houses of Parliament in London on 6 November.