Kohl’s, which recycles 83 percent of its waste, is the partner of the year for the EPA’s WasteWise program in the very large business category and Sierra Nevada Brewing won for midsize business. Sears, Toyota and Frito-Lay won honorable mentions.
The WasteWise Program helps organizations reduce or prevent waste headed to landfills, and practice sustainable materials management. Those that join as partners, from large retailers to small businesses, schools and local governments, agree to reduce or recycle municipal solid waste and select industrial wastes, and to set annual waste diversion goals.
Any organization that can measure and report waste can join as a partner. Endorsers agree to recruit organizations to become WasteWise partners or endorsers and provide both with promotional, educational or technical information.
Kohl’s joined the program in 2006 and now recycles 83 percent of all its waste, which amounts to nearly 140,000 tons a year. By 2015, its goal is to reach an 85 percent recycling rate. Its stores also recycled 80 percent to 90 percent of all dry waste last year. In 2010, Kohl’s partnered with waste vendors to create a dry waste program, which excludes items such as food waste or beverage containers that are not empty. Cardboard is key item it recycles, since it represents 70 percent of the company’s recycled items.
This is the third year Toyota has made the EPA’s honorable mentions list for recycling and reducing waste. In 2012, Toyota Motor Sales facilities recycled or avoided production of 98 percent of its trash, which it says was more than 99 million pounds. Switching to returnable containers for parts distribution helped reduce waste, the company says.
Other big corporations that have joined the program include GE Appliances, which has partnered with the EPA’s WasteWise and SmartWay programs since May 2012, pledging to reduce landfill waste and emissions.
Photo Credit: Kohl’s Department Stores