Looking after planet Earth doesn’t have to cost the Earth but is a vital part of responsible retailing. The IAA’s John Hayward joined News UK’s Dan Thorne at Sarah and Jono Armstrong’s Bexhill store to look at how environmentally friendly they are and discuss what they could do better for sustainability purposes.

“During our recent refit we installed low-energy lighting, as well as flooring made from recycled material,” says Sarah.

The couple say they have always kept an eye on waste and have tried to recycle as much as possible since they arrived in the country from Zimbabwe seven years ago.

“We have organised finance through the Carbon Trust for our new chiller, as this was a more efficient and environmentally-friendly unit than our previous equipment.

Jono says HND plays an important part in the retail mix, and the couple have recently taken over extra rounds from a nearby retailer. “We use news deliverers on foot and with bicycles as much as possible to do our paper rounds, rather than delivering in cars,” he says. “That’s all better for the environment and keeps the kids fit. “The way I look at it is that before we have even opened the shop, we have made a contribution to profits from our HND customers.”  NU’s sales development executive Dan Thorne says the service has dual benefits for retailers. “HND is efficient all round because it locks purchase to a single site. It also cuts down on wastage and returns,” he says

Bring in their old plastic shopping bags, which we then re-use. If we do have to give out new bags, we make sure these are made from recycled plastic,” says Sarah.

“And our free community library encourages the re-circulation of books, which is also good for our carbon footprint.” The book lending service occupies one side of a full-size display unit in the store. It is stuffed with second hand novels and not only saves the volumes from landfill, but makes the Windmill Drive store a magnet for the community. Dan congratulates the couple on their work, adding: “Sarah manages her magazines and newspapers supply to minimise wastage and uses local suppliers for her fresh food range with real flair.”