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News and information about the people, opportunities and events surrounding The WATER Foundation!

Hardware Store Waste Reduction Guideline Manual Available Now

The Water Foundation, together with the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance (OEA), announced today that the manual compiled from in store studies of the past two years is now published and available from the Water Foundation or the State of Minnesota.   The news is good, showing the owners of average hardware stores (10,000 to 12,000 square feet) how they can save $15,000 per year by implementing the simple waste reduction measures recommended.

This manual is a management tool, documenting costs and benefits of "best management practices" for waste reduction and pollution prevention in the operation of a retail hardware store.  Based on pilot projects at four Minnesota Hardware stores, over 40 waste management practices were monitored and documented at the pilot stores for cost and waste savings (in weight and volume).

A technical team of waste experts from The Water Foundation, The MN OEA and the Minnesota Waste Wise Program conducted a series of on-site waste management surveys and audits (including "dumpster diving" sessions) at hardware stores across Minnesota for over 12 months.  The conclusions of the studies were positive for the environment too, in that the average store would save 22,500 gallons of water from pollution, 620 cubic yards of waste avoided (74 tons) and stopped 70 pounds of toxic materials from entering the environment, per year.

For retail business owners, improperly managing waste hurts the bottom line in more ways than paying for garbage collection or recycling services.  Retail Hardware Best Practices for Waste Management demonstrates that reducing waste management and waste disposal costs, improving operating efficiency and reducing materials cost can save meaningful amounts of money.

In addition, hardware stores that have a commitment to waste reductiondanfluor.jpg (29072 bytes) can gain significant goodwill and customer loyalty by serving as a community waste management model.  Selling resource conservation products is also a strong base for potential profit.  David Winkelman, Director of The Water Foundation says, "The neighborhood hardware store is in a great position to profit from offering services for conservation like recycling of batteries, light bulbs, oil, motor oil, old pesticides and other hard to dispose of products. By offering these services, in conjunction with marketing promotions for buying newer, less toxic, more energy efficient products, the store fills several needs for the community, and price becomes less of an issue."

Other partners in the research were The Minnesota-Dakotas Retail Hardware Association, Ace Hardware Corporation and The National Retail Hardware Association.  The 46 page manual "Retail Hardware Best Practices for Waste Management" is available on our web site, just click "GreenGuide" or at The manual in book form is available from The WATER Foundation by sending a ten dollar (minimum) donation to WATER, PO Box H2O, Brainerd, MN 56401.

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