Our goal is to divert 90% of our waste across all Sears facilities. While we have made progress in our waste diversion, we still have work to do. We are working with our waste partners to integrate multiple data streams, improve waste handling processes to send zero recyclable materials to landfill, and identify new markets for remaining waste streams.
While we have not yet reached our target in our retail stores, our National Logistics Centres are Sears Canada’s leaders in waste diversion, diverting more than 80% of all waste, with some facilities exceeding 90%.
Cardboard is the most common material in our waste stream and our #1 priority for recycling. According to our waste audits, it makes up 64% of all waste material leaving our Full Line (Department) Stores. In our Home Stores, that increases to 84%.
Whether it's collected on site or sent to a logistics centre for recycling, cardboard can be recycled at every Sears facility. We are working with our recycling service provider and our operations teams to identify and implement tools and processes to increase the amount of cardboard we recycle.
National Hanger Recycling Program
Sears has operated a closed loop system for our hangers for more than a decade. Unneeded hangers are returned to our national hanger partner. In many cases, hangers are returned to vendors, creating a closed loop, which saves the energy of manufacturing new hangers. We have reduced the variety of hanger types we use to make it easier for them to be reused. Hangers that cannot be reused are fully recycled.
Plastic Film Recycling
Plastic film and shrink wrap that is used to protect merchandise is recycled from our National Logistics Centres. Sears retail stores send their plastics back to their closest NLC, where it’s baled for recycling. In many locations, plastic strapping is also recovered and recycled.
Polystyrene foam recycling
To manage polystyrene foam packaging, Sears has installed a number of polystyrene densifiers at its National Logistics Centres. These machines compact loose foam into dense blocks that can be transported for recycling. Instead of sending polystyrene to landfill, it can be recycled into new products like foam insulation.
Light bulb recycling
Sears completed the largest rollout of LED spotlights in Canada, replacing 116,000 incandescent lights with high efficiency LEDs. All of the lights that were removed were responsibly recycled, along with all fluorescent tubes that are replaced. Sears is proud to be a registered participant with Take Back the Light, a program to ensure safe recovery and recycling of spent lighting products.
Electronic Waste (E-Waste) Recycling
Long before e-waste recycling was popular, Sears Canada made a commitment: no Sears-owned electronic equipment will be disposed of in any manner that is not environmentally safe and compliant with Canadian laws. Electronics such as office computers, cell phones, cash registers and data servers that have reached the end of their useful life are decommissioned and recycled by our IT team. Sears IT equipment is sent to a recycling processor approved by the Ontario Electronic Stewardship to ensure that the highest environmental and data security standards are met, old electronics are not exported to developing countries, and e-waste is recycled in the province, helping to build Ontario’s green economy.
Sears has also hosted special e-waste collection events to help its customers recycle their e-waste.
Sears has provided a catalogue recycling service to Canadians for years. Old catalogues can be dropped off at more than 1,500 locations across the country. They are sorted and baled at our National Logistics Centres and then sent for recycling. With the implementation of curbside recycling programs in most municipalities across the country, Canadians can also recycle their used Sears catalogue by placing it in their blue bin.
Learn more about Sustainable Paper.
Product and material donations
Sears makes every effort to source the right products in the right quantities. Nevertheless, we are sometimes faced with unneeded stock. Wherever possible, we aim to donate unneeded merchandise or surplus materials to community partners such as Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada and Habitat for Humanity.
Reducing Low-Weight Pickups
In addition to increasing our waste diversion, we are also focused on reducing the number of trips required to remove waste from our facilities. By reducing half-full loads, we are helping to save fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
At some facilities, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags on our waste bins automatically transmit a signal when the bin is close to full. This triggers a pickup by our waste hauler. This technology has been successful in reducing the number of trips required by taking the guess work out of when a pickup is required and eliminating unnecessary ‘low weight’ pick-ups.