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Target Agrees to Phase Out Use of Polystyrene

Target announced this week it will begin to phase out use of polystyrene foam packing in its e-commerce operations.

Previously, “As You Sow,” an organization that promotes corporate accountability, filed shareholder proposals with Target, asking the company to “assess the reputational, financial and operational risks associated with continued use of foam packing materials and a timeline to phase out its use,” as reported on asyousow.org.

The retailer acknowledged concern in regards to the foam packaging, the limited availability of recycling options and foam’s role in contributing to plastic pollution on land and in waterways.

Scientists estimate that oceans already contain 150 million tons of plastic, with 8 million tons added every year. And according to ellenmacarthurfoundation.org, oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050 if action isn’t taken quickly to dramatically reduce the flow of plastics into waterways.  

Dell and Ikea have previously announced a reduction or phase out of polystyrene foam as a packing material in favor of safer, more sustainable materials like molded pulp. And McDonald’s Corp. switched from foam to paper cups in 2013.

Target announced more environmentally-friendly news just last month, saying it’s installing rooftop solar generation systems on five of its stores in the Denver area, part of its goal to have 500 stores with solar panels by 2020.


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