Less than a quarter of waste produced by retailers is now sent to landfill compared with almost 50% five years ago.
The dramatic reduction has been revealed in the British Retail Consortium's (BRC) A Better Retailing Climate Progress Report 2010, published today.
Since 2005 retailers have also achieved an 18% reduction in energy-related emissions from buildings and carbon dioxide emissions from transporting goods.
However, the BRC asks that the Government lend a hand in order to help retailers go further with their environmental goals.
For example, it believes the Government must ensure its localism agenda does not hand too much power over to local groups who may oppose green projects, to the detriment of meeting environmental targets.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "These remarkable achievements by retailers show their commitment to tackling climate change has not wavered, despite the tough trading conditions.
"Retailers have a proud record of delivering impressive environmental results on a voluntary basis - without the need for legislation... There could be benefits from more local decision-making. But the Government's localism agenda presents significant challenges to the excellent environmental work being done by retailers. Many climate change objectives are set nationally and internationally but often the opposition to schemes, such as wind farms or energy from waste plants, comes locally."
He concludes: "We can't let 'nimbyism' (not in my back yard) get in the way. A national approach is the best way to help retailers achieve environmental objectives at local level."