13 October 2022 Posted in Action News

Action scores highly with professional-level collection services

With more than 400 stores, Action is a firm fixture in the Dutch retail landscape.  This year, the fast-growing non-food discount retailer took home the Gouden Bakkie Award for its good collection results achieved in the area of lighting. “This is recognition for a company that’s increasingly focusing its attention on sustainability and a circular economy”, says Tjeerd Bartels, Head of Sustainability at Action.

Wecycle collection bins have been in use at Action stores since 2016 and are now everywhere you look in most towns and cities across the Netherlands. In that time, the retail chain has become one of the largest collectors of disused lighting in the retail sector – and that’s a good reason for the Gouden Bakkie Award! “With more than 400 collection points, Action is making an active contribution to the wider reach of collection points and recycling in the Netherlands”, says Gied van Hoorn, board member of the OPEN foundation and Managing Director of LightRec. “The fact that the stores are visited by a wide range of people makes us far more visible.”

The collection system is also highly efficient, says Tjeerd Bartels, Head of Sustainability at Action. “The collection bins are positioned in the stores so that they’re easily accessible for our customers at all times, whether that’s next to the cash registers or near the trolley bays. We also make it clear on the welcome signs that we collect light bulbs and batteries. Our staff check whether the collection bins are full on a weekly basis and make sure they’re emptied on time. They also remove any residual waste from the collection bins and contact OPEN to have full collection bins picked up. Finally, the container bins are also cleaned by our store employees.”

According to Bartels, it’s only logical for a company such as Action with an international presence – the company operates in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy and, since 2022, Spain – to take responsibility for dealing with end-of-life products, and to have a collection and processing infrastructure in place. “We’re responsible for a large part of sales in lighting or products that contain light bulbs, so it goes without saying that we should also share the responsibility, too”, adds Bartels.

“This award is great recognition that, together with our customers, we’re doing our bit to ensure old or broken lighting is processed responsibly.”

Growing awareness of society

Action is popular and is growing fast. Bartels also sees a growing awareness of society within the organisation, too. Bartels: “We believe it’s important for our customers to feel good when they buy our products. That’s why we’re investing heavily in qualitative and sustainable procurement and manufacturing. Together with impact organisation Circle Economy, this year we’re working on gaining company-wide insights into how circular the products in our 14 different product categories are, and where opportunities lie to make as big a positive contribution as possible to a circular economy. We’ll be looking at relevance, circular maturity, how we can make our products even more circular, and much more. Think, for example, of a product’s design, the origin of materials, how the product is manufactured, but also the way in which it’s used and recycled by customers.

70% of all timber products in Action’s stores are purchased sustainably, while 86% of the cotton sold comes from sustainable sources. Furthermore, more than 50% of the stores use energy-efficient LED lighting. “We’re on the right track, but we still have lots of work ahead of us, both now and with one eye on the future”, says Bartels. “For us, this Gouden Bakkie Award isn’t just recognition of our goal to collect old products, but it will also inspire us to keep implementing sustainable methods throughout the entire organisation.”