9 small (and one big) ways that big box stores can go green

"People-powered" cash registers and other fancy innovations

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Sainsbury Kinetic Plates photo

credit: Sainsburys

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While the deliveries by barge may have fallen by the wayside, Sainsbury's has explored a raft of sustainability measure that collectively could have a significant impact on the retail industry. From state-of-the-art LED lighting that adjusts according to daylight through keeping bees to planting millions of trees and launching city-wide electric car charging, there was a depth and breadth to Sainsbury's efforts that took them a touch beyond the usual greenwash.

I have to say, however, that one particular item still smacks to me of greenwash—and that's their much touted "people powered" cash registers. As I argued in my original post, the fact that these are actually kinetic plates that charge from cars in the parking lot means at very least that "people powered" is a euphemism for petroleum powered. And the idea of whether they actually provide a net benefit remains a very real concern—after all, if they slow a vehicle down, then they cause that vehicle to use more gas. If used as a speed hump, there might be some minimal merit. But I can't help feeling they'd be better off investing in some solar power.

Which leads me to...