Why it Matters

  • Our approach to recycling and waste more generally is to adopt the following prioritisation: Reduce, Reuse, Rework, Recycle
  • We aim to minimise general non-recyclable waste across the business and reduce use of landfill and other adverse environmental impacts
  • We aim to be fully compliant with all relevant waste legislation

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.

Our Distribution Centres in Stoke recover and process our product packaging from our DC and store operations (cardboard and polypropylene) ready for recycling. We have further mixed recycling collections from our stores for paper, plastic bottles and cans which is then sorted and recycled offsite. We also recycle wooden pallets and metal fixtures. All electrical waste is recycled through a WEEE compliant scheme. Any remaining waste that is not sorted for recycling within the business is sent offsite for further sortation.

In the financial year ended 1 July 2017, Dunelm recycled 79% (2016: 78%) of waste and reduced general waste volumes by over 200 tonnes (-6.5%) in stores despite new store openings. Through collaboration with our waste partners, we have improved total Company landfill diversion to 92% (2016: 89%) and achieved 100% landfill diversion from our Distribution Centres in Stoke. We continue to work with our waste partners to identify alternative solutions to eliminate use of landfill for the remainder of our operational waste and we expect to achieve at least 94% landfill diversion next year.  

2016/17 Achievements

  • All sites have been audited in 2016/17 and an ongoing compliance review process has been built into our existing operational audit procedures
  • A new audit tool has been developed to record levels of compliance and allow action planning and improved response follow-up in the future
  • Audit results highlighted compliance concerns which has led to the introduction of mixed dry recycling (see below section headed “Recycle, Reuse and Rework Initiatives”)
  • Internal marketing campaigns in 2017 have been held to ensure a consistent promotion of recycling
  • Store Manager Conference presentations, and frequent Area Manager briefings have supported this throughout the year
  • Recycling now features regularly in our monthly colleague Gazette publication, and new posters in colleague rest rooms, store warehouses, and training academies have been introduced
  • We successfully launched a coffee cup recycling collection at SSC in September 2016, recycling approximately 100,000 paper

What's Next for 2017/18

  • Continue to improve recycling performance aiming towards 100% landfill diversion over the medium term
  • Undertake at least ten “show and tell” waste audits at Dunelm sites to assess recycling performance and engage colleagues across the business
  • Explore greater opportunities of working with charities / the reuse sector to make more donations of unsellable stock
  • Explore new business opportunities around the circular economy and assess potential opportunities for Dunelm

Reduce, Reuse and Rework Initiatives


  • Our paperless office waste reduction initiative has reduced paper usage by over 60% year on year
  • New “less than perfect” stock selling guidance to colleagues has helped reduce general waste collection weight by 20kg per week per store


  • Partnering with the Furniture Reuse Network and our ‘Charity of the Year’ Home-Start UK, has enabled us to donate products which can’t be sold such as quilts, pillows and some furniture
  • We now work with over 100 local charities on this reuse initiative


  • In 2017, we have significantly improved the processing of returned furniture and electricals
  • These are now fully inspected, tested and if suitable, reworked into brand new condition products for onward re-sale. Alternatively parts are used for spares or sent for WEEE recycling

Waste recycled %