Waste and Recycling Goals
Kohl's waste and recycling goals are focused on the management of all wastes, while also reducing waste generation and promoting relevant recycling information to customers. These goals support SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production.
Divert 85% of Kohl’s U.S. operational waste from landfills by the end of 2025.
Label 100% of Kohl’s owned branded packaging with the How2Recycle® label by 2025.
Reduce the amount of plastic and cardboard in Kohl’s owned branded packaging.
We are committed to the management of all wastes, reducing waste generation, and promoting relevant recycling information to customers and associates. We are a recognized leader in waste management by the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise, an organization that helps businesses apply sustainable materials management practices. In 2019, we were one of just 10 top companies recognized in the EPA’s WasteWise 25th anniversary booklet. We were also given WasteWise’s Regional award for excellence in waste management, leading a large business in its practice of preventing waste and recycling in order to achieve both environmental and economic benefits.
Our solid waste management policy governs how we manage waste and recycle in store and at our corporate facilities. The separation of cardboard, paper, and plastic is a key company-wide practice, and the disposal of consumables and durable goods has the goal of recycling as much material as possible.
Through initiatives such as plastic and cardboard recycling, and beauty product and fabric scrap repurposing, we achieved an 84% diversion rate in 2019. Our associates and customers play a key role as we work to increase our diversion rate. We ensure teams are equipped to take action with training opportunities, regular and strategic communication on our recycling commitments, and rewards for high-performing locations. Our customers are provided with recycling resources in our stores and can opt for paperless receipts and credit statements.
In 2014, we developed partnerships to help us recycle plastic film, bags and wrap. In 2019, we recycled nearly seven million pounds of plastic film, bags, and wrap.
When a customer leaves our store, the bags they’re holding are made from 30-50% recycled, unbleached plastic. Customers can also drop plastic bags in the in-store recycling bins and leave their hangers with us to reuse and recycle.
In 2019, we stopped selling all plastic water bottles at corporate and credit food-service locations and vending machines, eliminating 150,000 plastic bottles annually. Associates are encouraged to use reusable water bottles. Filtered water and ice water stations in each building are available, and most beverage vendors offer aluminum substitutes.
Our stores in select markets have eliminated the use of plastic bags at checkout and now offer paper bags. While our plastic bags are fully recyclable through our store take-back program, paper bags can be recycled in customers’ curbside bins. Customers can find out how to recycle their bags by referencing the How2Recycle® label on each of our bags.
Materials that were once destined for landfill now find a second life. Fragrance testers, nail polish and soaps are recycled into paints, floor cleaners and deodorizing sprays.
The business of influencing fashion yields thousands of fabric scraps. Associates in fabric-cutting locations are sorting scraps and recycling them. Depending on the scrap size and design print, material is reused or turned into things like building or automobile insulation. In 2019, we collected more than one ton of fabric scraps from our New York and Milwaukee locations.
We also reduce waste by reminding Kohl’s cardholders they can opt for paperless billing. Since 2014, we have issued more than 200 million electronic credit card statements. More than a quarter of all cardholders now receive their statements electronically. Additionally, all customers can opt into receiving e-receipts when they shop in store at Kohl’s. To learn how to opt into paperless billing visit kohls.com.
Product packaging can have a significant impact on the environment, and we are taking steps to reduce our impact, which includes empowering customers to recycle our packaging correctly. In 2019, we became an active member of the How2Recycle® label program, a standardized labeling system that communicates recycling instructions to the public.
Internally, we are improving our product packaging and print production process, transitioning towards the use of certified paper on private and exclusive brands. We aim to reduce the amount of packaging we use by eliminating duplicative elements and evaluating size and paperweight.
Our merchant teams are working to reduce the amount of packaging used for each shipment of product to our stores and distribution centers. This effort also helps control costs by requiring less handling during the shipping process