Macy’s Inc. is doubling down on waste reduction and promoting circularity to help save the environment.
Among the efforts disclosed by the company this week: reducing packaging, scaling back on samples for private labels to reduce textile waste and advancing programs that enable customers to extend the life of products.
“Our efforts are focused on providing sustainable and ethically produced brands, products and services to our customers, while reducing our impact on the environment through operations,” Keelin Evans, vice president of sustainability at Macy’s Inc., said in a statement Monday. “We’re going to achieve this through our guiding social purpose platform, ‘Mission Every One,’ and an enterprise-wide collaboration with partners, designers, suppliers, logistics partners, entrepreneurs, colleagues and customers.”
Macy’s indicated that its private brand team is utilizing technology to scale back the number of physical samples required from suppliers “without impacting fit, color and other design considerations.” Macy’s said that process has significantly decreased textile waste. According to the company, in 2019, 5 percent of samples were digital but by the end of the 2022 development season, 61 percent of all samples were made virtually. “This shift actively keeps product that would otherwise not have use, out of landfills,” Macy’s indicated.
The retailer is further reducing waste by cutting down on packaging. That involves standardizing the size of packing cartons and minimizing packaging materials, the company said. Among the initiatives cited:
- Auto-boxer and auto-bagger technology to create unique packaging to fit odd or oversize items and reduce box volume and waste up to 50 percent.
- In 2022, virgin plastic mailer bags were edited to include 35 percent recycled content, reducing the thickness of the bag by 20 percent, thereby reducing virgin plastic input by more than 50 percent.
- All cardboard used by Macy’s fulfillment centers is FSC-certified and comprised of 35 percent recycled content.
- In spring 2022, most packages from digital orders fulfilled by Macy’s fulfillment centers do not include printed invoices. Instead, customers can reference order information in their online accounts and email receipts.
The Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s divisions of the company have been offering accessible care instructions and programs to help customers extend product life and reduce water and electricity use. For products like jewelry, watches and furniture, repair services are available through “WorryNoMore Protection Plans” and a partnership with My Jewelry Repair, which offers a range of services, from repairing a broken clasp on a bracelet to recreating an entire movement in a watch.
Macy’s wants to increase store recycling rates 80 percent by 2025. To help reach the goal, the Macy’s beauty products team launched a pilot program involving shipping outdated collateral to a third-party for recycling rather than disposing it in the stores. Macy’s is also using RFID technology to track participation and weights of store cardboard recycling.
Additionally, earlier this year, Macy’s joined up with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, textile waste solutions company FabScrap, and Give Back Box, a system for donating household items.
Through its partnership with Give Back Box, Macy’s customers can contribute to the responsible lifecycle of their clothes, toys and other pre-loved items by downloading a pre-paid shipping label from Macy’s website and sending them to be donated for resale and recycling.