Shopping refits, with much less waste

 

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Bayfair Shopping Centre in Tauranga has boosted its impressive reputation in sustainable business by working to maximise waste diversion when de-fitting stores.

Over the years Bayfair Shopping Centre has led the way on a range of sustainability initiatives. These include organic food waste collections, grey water harvesting and accessibility standards.

Now the busy Bay of Plenty centre is using the processes outlined in SBN’s Circular Economy Model Office Guide to keep as much waste out of local landfill as possible when refitting its stores.

The business of taking out one store and putting in another is typically a very linear ‘highway to the landfill’ process. It contributes to the tonnes of construction and demolition waste we throw into holes in the ground every year. Bayfair is addressing this by looking for solutions to reuse, repurpose or recycle the resulting waste as much as possible.

Steve Ellingford is centre manager.

“It is part of New Zealand’s biggest waste stream,” he explains. “We do so much recycling in the centre, then you go and watch the de-fit of a tenancy and see a skip on its way to landfill. We know that’s not the right thing to do. So it’s another waste stream we really want to target and reduce.”

So far this has resulted in reusing 290kg of doors and framing and being able to on-sell certain items such as roller doors, panels, shelving units, benches and tapware. Electronic cables and ceiling grids have also been recycled, along with 3.7 tonnes of ceramic tile waste going into aggregate. All of these materials and their associated value would have been lost to landfill if the Centre had not intervened.

The centre team connected with a like-minded contractor running the demolition service. The contractor takes the products away for reuse or recycling. They also work with retailers using other services to see if they too will take these ideas on board. In most cases they do. And where the centre takes back a tenancy, for example when a store goes into liquidation, the centre can manage the de-fit themselves, running the full Circular Economy Model Office process.

Steve says: “It’s not always about doing 100%, you might get 50%. But you are certainly making a difference. Over time you can grow that.”

The Centre is building in waste diversion requirements to the operating leases to embed the approach. And other contractors on site have now taken up some of the new practices, spreading the benefits further. The next step is to take a closer look at store design so that the right products and processes are in place to ensure stores can run more efficiently and be de-fitted more easily in this way.

“It’s working out cheaper already,” says Steve. “Like a lot of these processes they will become more and more commonplace, because I don’t believe we can carry on doing what we’re doing with construction waste. You are either going to pay a huge amount of money to take it to landfill, or change your business model on how you manage your waste.”

James Griffin is project lead for SBN’s Circular Economy Accelerator.

“Bayfair is taking a real leadership role in construction waste diversion,” he says. “Using circular economy principles in this way means it is extracting greater value from waste materials.”

Find out more about the circular economy.

Bayfair Shopping Centre is a finalist in the 2017 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards in the Hardwired for Social Good and Revolutionising Energy categories.