The National Association of Convenience Stores partnered with Keep America Beautiful to give its members guidance on recycling and trash management. The partnership is part of a larger NACS initiative geared at elevating its members’ brands
When Americans stop to fill up their cars at gas stations, they often toss their trash, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. In a recent survey, NACS found that 56 percent of convenience and fueling retailers reported that most of the trash in those bins near fueling stations is not generated from their stores.
That’s part of the reason why NACS is partnering with Keep America Beautiful (KAB) to give its members guidance on the best practices when it comes to recycling and trash management. “We see the issue of stores collecting trash from customers’ cars as a positive,” said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives. “It allows us to connect with consumers who will think, ‘Yes, I do that, and it is appreciated.’ We think it is helpful to tell how we are positive contributors with trash.”
NACS and KAB worked together to create a resource—scheduled to launch later this month—that will help NACS members consider efficiencies with their trash collection and help them increase their community involvement in the meantime. “Most convenience stores are small businesses—63 percent are one-store operators—so they often don’t have the resources (time or money) to find new ideas,” Lenard said. “Associations exist exactly to do this kind of work—bring partnerships and ideas to businesses that can’t do it on their own.”
Lenard said that the idea for the partnership with KAB started about a year ago, as a result of one single statistic. “Consumers who don’t want a convenience store in their neighborhood cite trash as the primary reason,” Lenard said. “So, who can help us with a program to look at issues related to trash? We thought that KAB was the place to start. And it turns out that plenty of our members already are engaged with KAB’s state and regional affiliates.”
According to Lenard, this partnership with KAB is part of a larger “reFresh initiative” at NACS, which is aimed at elevating its members’ brands while creating a narrative around the food and community that convenience stores provide.
“This year we announced three significant partnerships: The American Red Cross, Partnership for a Healthier America, and Keep America Beautiful,” Lenard said. “That’s a pretty good year, but we also believe that there is much more to do beyond announcing these programs—it is about effecting change, whether in our industry or with other associations looking to develop similar initiatives. Initiatives that benefit communities are not—nor should they be—channel-exclusive.”