Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our operations and helping our customers and employees adopt greener practices. In support of our commitment, we continue to expand our ongoing initiatives within the areas of waste reduction and diversion, energy conservation and efficiency, and product quality, safety and development.
Waste reduction and diversion
We continue to focus on the reduction of waste from our operations through a variety of diversion programs across the store network. In 2012, our store recycling and energy savings programs enabled us to divert 66% of waste from landfills. We recycled more than 23,000 tonnes of fibre, saving the equivalent of more than 417,000 trees.
Our ongoing Sharps and Medication Disposal service, available to customers in all stores, is a key part of our diversion efforts and is a safe and effective solution to manage expired pharmaceutical and over-the-counter products, as well as sharps/syringes. These products are securely transferred from our stores to be incinerated, preventing risks to patient health and ensuring that these materials do not enter the waste stream. In 2012, of the 274,000 kilograms of waste safely diverted and disposed of through this service, 159,000 kilograms were unused or expired medications and 115,000 kilograms were sharps/syringes.Our customers appreciate choice in helping to protect the environment, and together we have significantly reduced the number of plastic bags issued in our stores. We support the municipalities that have made it mandatory to charge for plastic bags and continue to donate a portion of the proceeds from the plastic bag fee to the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women's Cancers, while also reinvesting back into existing and new environmental programs and initiatives.
Energy conservation and efficiency
We have continued our efforts to conserve energy in our stores through the installation of energy management systems. These systems allow us to centrally control a store’s HVAC, lighting and refrigeration systems, improving the air quality and reducing total energy consumption. Today, more than 835 stores, almost 65% of our network, operate with energy management systems in place. We will continue to implement energy management systems in new store builds and relocations in 2013.
In 2012, we continued the exterior signage lighting retrofit initiative to provide us with greater energy efficiency and savings. For the past two years, we have been replacing fluorescent tubes and neon lighting with LED lighting in outdoor signage in most large format stores, resulting in sustained energy savings. We also started repurposing our perimeter track lighting and decommissioning the outdated lighting in our cosmetic departments in stores this past year, substantially lowering power consumption. Our efforts reduced total energy consumption in 2012 by 3.6%, a figure that is expected to increase in 2013 as a result of our ongoing efforts to further reduce our environmental footprint.
In 2013, we have a number of pilot projects planned to further reduce our energy consumption. In addition to advances in lighting, we continue to find and act upon incremental opportunities to address HVAC energy loads in store locations that are not on an energy management system.