Convenience & The Three R's: Refresh, Refuel & Reduce

ALEXANDRIA, Va. —There are three R's when it comes to convenience: refresh, refuel and reduce. 

According to two surveys conducted by NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, 70 percent of American drivers say they use the trash can at the fueling island to dispose of trash from their cars, and 56 percent of convenience and fueling retailers say that most trash in their trash cans at the fueling island is not generated from the store.

Store appearance matters a great deal, as 84 percent of consumers say the store's cleanliness is an important factor when considering whether to go inside the store to make a purchase. And, nine in 10 consumers (92 percent) say the c-store they visit most often tends to be clean, compared to the 85 percent who say that c-stores in general tend to be clean.

"Keep your store and yard clean of litter. Your customers will respect your cleanliness and your business will grow," said Jeff Armbruster of Grafton, Ohio.-based Armbruster Energy Stores.

Retailers report that they spend more than $600 per month for recycling and trash collection programs, or approximately $1.4 billion industry-wide on an annual basis. The convenience store industry is currently working with Keep America Beautiful to provide guidance to its members on best practices for recycling and trash management.

"More than 160 million Americans visit convenience stores every day to address their immediate needs, whether to grab a quick snack, meal or drink or to refuel and clean out their cars," said Jeff Lenard, NACS vice president of strategic industry initiatives. "Effective trash and recycling programs are a critical part of how retailers serve on-the-go drivers, whether off the highway or in the neighborhood."

NACS conducted both surveys to gauge consumer and retailer perceptions about litter, trash and recycling leading up to Earth Day on April 22.