One of the most important ways we can operate sustainably is to commit to using fewer natural resources, reducing our waste and recycling materials. We encourage all divisions of the Company to apply a range of practices to fulfill this objective.
RECYCLING CARDBOARD BOXES
With locations across the country, we send and receive millions of cardboard boxes each year. Cardboard represents the majority of our waste by volume. Recycling boxes is an important part of our effort to reduce our waste and demonstrate our commitment to being a responsible retailer. We continue to test new recycling systems at our distribution centers and stores, which not only divert tons of waste from going into landfills, but also help us reduce waste disposal costs and decrease Associate labor.
Our distribution centers receive merchandise from many countries around the world, and we process and ship these goods to stores across the country, typically in cardboard boxes. We use a packing and shipping system that minimizes the number of boxes and trucks required to deliver merchandise, as well as a system to recycle millions of boxes each year. As a result, we currently recycle almost 45,000 tons of material each year at our distribution centers, and this measure grows by nearly 1,000 tons each year.
Our stores participate in an expanded recycling program, where boxes are collected and taken to a nearby recycling facility. With more than 100 boxes per delivery, this effort to recycle quickly adds up. We recycle an estimated 27,000 tons of cardboard boxes per year through this program, and this number continues to grow each year. The current recycling rate eliminates almost 20 tons of cardboard per store from the waste stream.
SMALLER INITIATIVES THAT ADD UP
In addition to these larger initiatives, the small changes in how we operate our stores, distribution centers and offices also have a positive impact on the planet.
Some examples of these initiatives include:
- We use recycled paper.
- We don’t issue paper catalogues like many other retailers, which minimizes paper waste.
- The default setting on our printers is for double-side printing.
- We sell branded totes at our stores and encourage customers to use reusable shopping bags. We sold 2.9 million reusable, branded totes in 2017.
- Our stores and offices use large capacity, refurbished toners, which results in less plastic, steel, aluminum and rubber waste compared to traditional toners.
- The majority of our Associates receive electronic paychecks.
- Our headquarters is certified Gold by Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED), the premiere program providing third-party verification of green buildings.