Mixed Dry Recycling: Keeping it simple for our colleagues and the environment

At Dunelm we always try to do the right thing, and we are committed to minimising the impact of our business on the environment.

We aim for high levels of recycling across our business. All stores have cardboard balers and colour- coded bins to segregate waste for recycling. Training programmes and communication to increase colleague awareness and compliance are undertaken frequently.

In 2017 we found a simple way to improve our recycling whilst making life easier for our colleagues.

Our findings

Recycling compliance audits highlighted that segregation of recyclable items in-store into multiple containers was causing confusion. We had seven different recycling bins in-store as well as general waste bins.

Colleagues found it confusing to choose the correct bin. This impacted recycling compliance and led to contamination of waste.

Our colleagues in Stoke who previously sorted plastic bottles, paper and cans were faced with mixed refuse which was time-consuming and a dirty job to work through.

Our response

We introduced a new mixed dry recycling operation in-store, which was collected direct from our stores by our waste contractor.

A training video and new marketing materials accompanied the programme to promote the new processes.

New permanent plastic bins were introduced to replace the cardboard versions that were used previously for recycling, which had a very short lifespan and were costly to replace.

How this has helped

Operations are simplified, saving colleague processing time and dirty work both in store and at our DCs.

Recycling compliance has improved significantly. We have collected three times the volume of mixed recycling each week, directly reducing our general waste levels.

We’ve eliminated the unnecessary transportation of tonnes of recycling per year from our stores back to our DCs, taking it direct to the recycling centres instead.

Recycling: Facts at a Glance


Last year Dunelm recycled 79% (2016: 78%) of waste

200 tonnes

Reduction in general waste volumes year on year (-6.5%) in stores despite new store openings.


Level of landfill diversion of all company waste achieved in 2017 (2016: 89%)


Level of landfill diversion from our Distribution Centres in Stoke.