Today, I’m going to talk about greenwashing at Rite Aid. I’ve been working at the Rite Aid on East Bay street for the past year, so I have gotten to see their complete lack of any real environmental policies. To start, there is an commercial that plays every day on the speaker system advertising “how you can go green today at Rite Aid” and to ask a cashier for more details. The details in question is just the option to opt out of having your purchase bagged when you leave. That’s pretty much it. For a while, all of our name tags had these little extensions on them advertising going green at Rite Aid. This really irks me because it is not really an environmental initiative. It is just trying to capitalize off of a practice that people have been doing for ages. Next, I want to speak about how we do not really do much to help the environment. We basically do not have any form of recycling. All of the cardboard we use is broken down and thrown into a dumpster. Also, I understand the receipts are printed on a special type of paper that is not usually recyclable, but we waste a lot of that stuff. A receipt will always print out for a purchase regardless of whether or not the customer wants one. Then, we have to throw pounds upon pounds of this paper away everyday just for it to be locked in a landfill somewhere. I once joked with a coworker by putting the replacement printer paper in the trashcan because it was just going to end up there anyway. Finally, we do offer reusable bags at the store which is a plus, but the bags have been known to contain harmful materials in the past. I have tried to ask my managers to make attempts at recycling, but so far, it has been to no avail 🙁
For almost 2 years not, I have worked at a small shoe store on King Street. Despite the small size of the store, I never fail to be shocked by how much trash is accumulated in the small time frame we are open from 10 am to 7 pm.
Each box we have is lined with a few layers of tissue paper, and each shoe is stuffed with wads of the tissue paper. In the box, the shoes are placed and tissue is then put in the spots between the shoes so that they do not move around too much while stored on shelves. When someone buys a pair of shoes, all of this, and usually the boxes are simply throw away. I constantly think how much paper could be saved if we were to reuse this tissue paper instead of just dispose of it after every purchase. On top of boxes and tissue paper, we also have tags, packaging for accessory items, cups, napkins, and more that are thrown away each day. Each day, we throw away 2 or 3 trash bags full of paper!
With busy season coming up, this waste is only going to get worse. To combat this, I talked to my manager and we are now making an effort to recycle more. Shifts during the summer can get hectic and separating recycling can get hard, so I have made a recycling bin to place right behind the door in our back room, so that is easily accessible from the sales floor. I hope our employees begin to get in the habit of recycling all of our boxes and paper products, in an effort to cut down on our tremendous waste.