Convenience Store Chain Notches Another Environmental First—Recycling Bins
A major convenience store chain with a focus on the environment, adding recycling containers? Sounds like a no-brainer.

In fact it took a lot of brainwork for RecycleAway and Sheetz, one of the nations fastest-growing family owned convenience store chains, to come up with a formula that worked.

Sheetz, with over 500 locations in 6 mid-Atlantic states, is no stranger to environmental concerns. Sheetz installed the first electric vehicle charging stations at convenience stores, and its employee wellness center won LEED Gold certification. So when approached by an acquaintance from the Pennsylvania Recycling Coalition about installing recycling bins, Sheetz was naturally interested.

Details Matter
But a convenience store/gas station is a lot different than a corporate lobby or a college cafeteria. Lots of traffic, by definition. A customer base that isn't expecting to see a recycling container. Space issues. Wind--gas stations have lots of wide-open space, and the mid-Atlantic sees its share of windstorms. And then there's aesthetics. Sheetz has its own look, its own signature color (red) and a reputation for being a place to get good food on the road. It was important to come up with something that didn't clash with any of that.

Enter RecycleAway
Sheetz contacted RecycleAway and began working through the details with Mairi Brennan, Director of Sales Operations. What size and shape would the containers be? How large? Sheetz sent for samples, and loved the bestselling Big Bottle for its eye-catching shape. But it proved unstable in windy conditions. Steel containers looked great, but with over 500 stores, the cost added up. The process stretched out to two years, ultimately coming down on a custom version of the RB-1.

The Toughest Decision--Color
Now, what color?
Sheetz red, naturally.
No, black. Black would stand out better.
No, red.
It was a crucial decision. Color is one of the most important aspects of recycling container satisfaction. A bin is a large object to add to your décor. It needs to look like it belongs, but, especially in a place where the public doesn't yet expect to see recycling containers, it needs to stand out too.

The Sheetz Bin
In the end Sheetz came down on black, and RecycleAway produced a strongly designed, attractive recycling bin with a 60 gallon capacity. It's made of heavy-duty rigid plastic, with multiple openings. The size makes it easy to label. The Sheetz container makes everything clear. “Recycling.” “Bottles and cans only.” “Get in the loop—Please Recycle.” And the Sheetz logo on the side makes a statement of the company's values. 

“I think it's going to make a difference,” said Mairi Brennan, RecycleAway's point person on the project. “I hope other gas station chains will notice.” The chains get a revenue stream from bottle deposits, and the ability to satisfy the increasing number of environmentally aware consumers. And now that Sheetz has led the way, maybe for the next chain the decision to add bottle and can recycling will really be pretty much a no-brainer.

Jessie Haas is a Vermont native, journalist and writer of award-winning children's books about horses and the people that love them.

Megyn Barroner is an amazing wedding, portrait and sports photographer from Pennsylvania with a sparkling personality and killer work ethic.