In 2019, 98% of paper/cardboard in stores was recycled, 87% of polybags and shrink wrap and 27% of co-mingled recycling.
As part of our goal for net zero environmental harm from our business, we have a number of priorities to reach zero-waste status.
Operate only zero-waste facilities
We started by auditing waste across our network. We use waste scorecards to create ‘green scores’ for each of our stores to show which waste streams they recycle. This helps us understand where we need to integrate recycling bins.
Our priority list of waste materials to recycle:
1) Soft plastic (mainly polybags and shrink wrap)
2) Cardboard and paper
3) Damaged stock
4) Co-mingled recycling
5) Silica gel pouches
Priority number 1: Polybags
We are exploring alternatives to plastic polybags with an intent to remove these from the supply chain. Before this happens, we are exploring ways to recycle polybags. With Australia ceasing its importation of soft plastics from New Zealand, we are working with the Packaging Forum to find new ways to recycle our soft plastics.
Australia remains our biggest challenge as the recycling streams are controlled by shopping centres and landlords.
Have 100% sustainable packaging materials by 2025
The packaging department is a place where small things can add up to make a big difference. A few years ago, we consolidated our packaging suppliers and used the Avery Dennison Greenprint packaging audit tool to assess the footprint of our packaging options across six factors – fossil material, trees, water, energy, CO2 and waste.
Last year, we converted the final pieces of our packaging to soy-based inks and Forest Stewardship Council-certified card.
To achieve our target, we will have plastic and mixed waste recycling into every one of our stores by 2018. We’re searching for reuse programs for the hard-to-recycle stuff.
For instance, REDGroup has developed and implemented the REDcycle program: a service that collects soft plastics to make products. In Australia, REDcycle partners with plastic manufacturer, Replas, to create plastic products such as benches, table settings, bollards, and decking. To date, over 400 million pieces of plastic have been diverted from landfill.
Empowering our team
A big part of the program is bringing all our stores along on the journey — to give them the power and incentives to find their own solutions.
In 2015, we put soft plastic recycling bins into the Dunedin store, the Melbourne CBD store, and the Melbourne Distribution Centre. For the distribution centre, this brought the percentage of plastic recycling up from approximately 65% to 91%.
Waste strategy is now built into our store development program so that recycling is considered when each new store is being planned.
Fees for Trees
A small change can make a big difference.
And that’s why we’re now charging a small fee for our paper bags in store, with net proceeds going to plant trees locally in New Zealand and Australia.
Small: 40 Cents
Large: 50 Cents
Net proceeds will be donated to Trees That Count in NZ and Greening Australia.
Greening Australia is the environmental enterprise that thinks bigger than the environment. They’ve been restoring and conserving Australia’s unique landscapes at scale for over 38 years.
They’re focused on tacking Australia’s greatest environmental challenges - saving the Great Barrier Reef, tackling climate change, reversing the decline of our threatened species and supporting Traditional Owners aspirations for restoring country. They’re also creating sustainable cities for people and wildlife, and supporting regenerative agriculture and forestry systems.
Greening Australia uses collaborative, science-based and innovative conservation programs to restore landscape at scale. With a goal to plant 500,000,000 stems by 2030, their vision is to create healthy and productive landscapes where people and nature thrive.
TREES THAT COUNT
Planting native trees is one of the most powerful actions we can take to combat climate change, protect our beautiful landscapes, waterways and forests for future generations. Trees That Count is a charity on a mission to make it easy for Kiwis to plant more trees. They do that through their community marketplace which matches funded and gifted trees with planters around the country who are restoring, and growing, precious wildlife corridors or pockets of native forest, turning small projects into mighty ones.
Our paper bags in store are made from 100% post-consumer (recycled) content and 100% recyclable at your kerbside recycling.