Kohl’s honored by EPA for commitment to reducing waste

Menomonee Falls, Wis. Kohl’s Department Stores has received a Gold Achievement Award for Green Purchasing from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise Partnership. The award recognizes the company’s purchase and use of recycled and environmentally responsible materials throughout its operations.

“We aim to make environmentally responsible choices when it comes to the materials we use, how we use them and how we transport them,” said Ken Bonning, Kohl’s executive VP store planning and logistics. While waste reduction initiatives like our recycling program and shipping efficiencies are beneficial for our business, we’re inspired by their positive, long-term environmental benefit.”

Kohl’s has been an active member of EPA’s WasteWise Partnership since January 2007. EPA launched WasteWise in January 1994 as a voluntary partnership program designed to help organizations implement practical methods for reducing municipal solid waste. The program has more than 2,000 partners nationwide and focuses on three elements of waste reduction -- waste prevention, recycling and buying or manufacturing recycled content products.

Kohl’s ongoing efforts include:

  • Recycling: In 2009, Kohl's recycled more than 100,000 tons of plastic, cardboard and hangers. Kohl's locations recycle all plastic, hangers, office paper, cans, glass and cardboard. As of 2009, all wage statements are Web-based, and nearly all ink cartridges used at the corporate office are remanufactured.

  • Use of supplies with recycled content: Gift boxes and restroom papers found at Kohl’s are made from 100% recycled content. In addition, paper used for advertising circulars has more than 20% recycled content and is sourced from 100% certified forests.

  • Partnership with vendors: Kohl’s has asked vendors to reduce the amount of packaging used to ship merchandise to Kohl’s stores. Items that require plastic protection are shipped in recyclable polyethylene bags. Kohl’s has also asked vendors to eliminate non-recyclable packaging.

  • Shipping efficiency: Kohl’s teams work to increase the number of units shipped per carton and to ensure cartons are appropriately sized for shipments.

  • Use of recycled material at new stores: At new Kohl’s stores that are built from the ground up, an estimated 20% of building materials, as measured by cost, are recycled.

  • Use and support of green energy sources: Kohl’s has purchased enough green power in the forms of renewable energy credits and on-site solar generation to meet 100% of its purchased electricity. A 2009 EPA Green Power Partner of the Year and 2010 Energy Star Partner of the Year, Kohl’s is the largest retail host of solar power in North America with 81 solar locations nationwide.

  • Getting shoppers in on the act: While Kohl’s merchandise bags are made from 20% to 35% recycled plastic, Kohl’s introduced reusable shopping bags in 2008 to encourage shoppers to reduce the number of bags used. Shoppers are also encouraged to bring plastic bags to any Kohl’s nationwide for recycling.

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