We make mindful choices around the packaging we create. This includes minimizing our material use, choosing preferred materials and ensuring all packaging is recyclable at end of life. We measured our company-wide waste footprint to learn how much waste we produce globally to better understand how we can reduce it. See below for a few examples of ways we work to reduce waste.
We have a sustainable packaging policy that outlines our approach, including steps to keep our product packaging to a minimum, choose preferred materials, and ensure our packaging is fully recyclable at end of life. One step we’ve taken is switching our paper-based packaging to FSC-Certified materials, which make up our product hangtags, holiday boxes, as well as our gift cards and sleeves.
Our products are shipped in polybags from our finished goods vendors to our distribution centres. We use polybags because they offer the best protection for our products. And yet, they are one of the more challenging aspects of retail packaging and are hard to recycle in many jurisdictions. Other companies face the same challenge, and like us, are finding that eliminating polybags altogether increases waste from damaged products. We will continue to explore ways of reducing polybags and improving content and recyclability.
Our shoppers are highly durable and reusable. We design shoppers for our guests to take their new gear home, and then reuse to carry runners or anything else that doesn’t fit neatly into two hands! Currently, they’re crafted from a mix of materials making them hard to recycle. We are working to improve our shopper materials and taking steps to improve our impact.
We are proud to share that through internal initiatives and great partnerships, over 90% of our damaged and excess products are resold, donated or recycled. Our partner debrand recycles our apparel to be used as home insulation; stuffing for mattresses, furniture, and cars, and even in sporting equipment like boxing gloves and punching bags; and our yoga mats are recycled into an equestrian footing product called ReitenRight. A small amount of hard-to-recycle items are sent to a waste to energy facility to generate electricity.
Four of our five global distribution centres have achieved zero waste. This means they’ve consistently reused and recycled over 90% of their waste materials for over a year. And our newest distribution centre (opened in 2019) is on-track to achieve zero waste by 2021.
Our box reuse program saves more than 1 million boxes every year, and our teams recycle all the soft plastics and corrugate used to transport our product to our facilities.
Through a survey and some less-than-glamorous dumpster diving, we learned what our stores can and can’t recycle in their local municipal or mall programs. This is shaping the development of our recycling programs, including training and tools we are creating for them.