Plastics and cardboard into recycling
The most relevant waste fractions in our stores are different packaging wastes. Pallet film – the transparent plastic film that secures the cargo transported on euro size and smaller pallets – is valuable raw material for circular use. We collect all pallet film from Alko stores and hand it over to our recycling partner. Combined with virgin plastic material using a 40%/60% ratio, it becomes the material of which Alko’s branded plastic bags are manufactured.
Cardboard boxes are mostly directed to the collections organized by our landlords, but where this is not possible we collect the cardboard to our own return transportation and centrally deliver it to recycling.
The wooden boxes in which mostly wines are packaged would, according to waste management guidelines, be classified as energy waste. However, very few of them are left for stores to recycle as many customers are interested in getting them for their own reuse purposes.
Only fairly small quantities of mixed waste typically builds up in our stores. Our target is anyway to achieve a recycling rate of 100%, or as close as possible, in all our stores by year 2020.
Deposit refund recycling of bottles and cans is organized as PALPA co-operation.
The inner pouches of bag-in-box wines are collected for recycling in Alko stores in Southern and South-West Finland, and they end up in cement production. (Here a video of the recycling process.)
Energy savings with LED and sensor technologies
In Alko stores a major part of total energy consumption comes from lighting the store environment. There are about 350 Alko stores in Finland and every one of them is slightly different as a retail space. LED lighting as an energy saving lighting option was trialed as early as in 2009 as a whole-store solution in Helsinki Töölöntori Alko store. The trial was remarkable in the sense that it was a national first: the first customer space in Finland entirely illuminated by LED.
Nowadays all our signage and logos are LED-lighted and new opportunities for using LEDs are continuously looked for. For example all spot lights in stores have been upgraded from halogens into LEDs.The backrooms of stores are equipped with motion detectors to save energy.