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Target Exceeds 2020 Waste Diversion and Recycling Goal

Target waste diversion
(Photo Credit: Mike Mozart, Flickr Creative Commons)

Target already exceeded its 2020 goal to divert 70% of retail waste from landfills through reuse or recycling, according to the company’s newly published 2018 corporate responsibility report. As a result, Target set a new goal to achieve a 75% diversion rate by the end of this year.

In 2017, Target says the company diverted 74% of their retail waste from landfills through salvage, donations, organics, reuse or recycling.

“Our progress is a result of the Salvage and Waste teams’ efforts in managing the salvage, donation, organics, recycling and trash programs for US headquarters, distribution centers, and Target stores,” according to the report.

Here are steps Target took:

  • Performed waste stream audits to understand what is being sent to landfills. Stores were selected based on store type, volume, geography, and trash volumes to obtain a representative sample of the full supply chain. “We plan to audit locations on an ongoing basis to measure progress in line with our waste minimization goals,” the report says.
  • Tracked trash, donations, recycling, and organics programs at the store level. “In 2017, we launched new reporting to deliver store-level data for donations which provided more visibility,” Target says. “This reporting increased the data received by our donations partners and drove increased participation rates at stores, which led to a 15 million pound increase compared to 2016 donations.”
  • Committed to halving Target’s food waste within operations by 2025. The company is a member of the Consumer Goods Forum, and expects to continually engage experts and consultants in food waste as they develop their strategy, and seek new partners and programs to reduce food waste going to the landfill.
  • Achieved zero-waste certification. Target’s Waste Minimization team became zero-waste certified as TRUE Advisors by the US Green Building Council. The company recently launched composting and began tracking waste at their Highland Park Target store in St. Paul, Minnesota. “We also hope to certify this project location by achieving an average of 90% or greater overall diversion from landfill, incineration, and the environment for solid, non-hazardous wastes over a 12-month timeframe.”

Beyond waste, the retailer also reached its 2020 goal of having 80% of its buildings Energy Star certified two years early. The company has 1,509 stores, four headquarter buildings, and two data centers certified. Currently Target is adding solar rooftop panels to 500 stores and distribution centers. Last year 89 new solar projects were installed, bringing the total to 436.

In addition, Target has committed to sourcing 100% sustainable cotton for its brands by 2022. In 2017, the company became a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), and through this partnership reports sourcing 4,478 metric tons of Better Cotton.

“The circular economy is one of the biggest opportunities we have to design a sustainable future,” the report says. “We want to be the mass retailer that offers the greatest number of products, services, and experiences that are circular by design, incorporating this concept into our owned brands and working with recycled and sustainably sourced materials.”

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