Waste Working towards 80% waste diversion
We have a responsibility to help prevent and properly care for global waste, which impacts the environment and adds unnecessary costs to our business. In North America, 90% of waste comes from our retail sites, and we are exploring ways to significantly reduce and divert our packaging waste. By achieving our goal, we will divert more than 30 million pounds of material annually from landfills, while innovating to optimize packaging and reduce volume, lower business costs, and support industrywide change. We currently divert nearly 50% of waste generated in our North American facilities.
To meet our goal, we are pursuing a few opportunities. Since landlords control waste management at 75% of our North American stores, we historically focused on engaging our largest landlords to identify opportunities to improve recycling. However, in recognition that an industry solution will take more time, we have been exploring steps we can take as a company to innovate our packaging design and recycling systems to achieve our 2020 goal.
We are working towards diverting 80 percent of the waste produced by our U.S. facilities by the end of 2020.
Our efforts focus on the boxes, hangers and plastic wrapping used to transport and protect our clothes as they move from distribution centers to stores.
One area of focus is solutions for polybags. Only a portion of our store locations are able to recycle these types of soft plastics, so we are testing a suite of solutions: better communication with store employees about current recycling opportunities at their location, collaboration with our brands to reduce the quantity of polybags shipped to stores, and stricter packing standards with our vendors to reduce polybag volume through better design and packing practices.
We are also creating and selecting in-store marketing materials with recyclability in mind. In addition to work within our company and with our brands, we are continuing to engage the industry and our landlords to develop longer-term solutions that reduce waste and expand opportunities for recycling across the retail industry.
We recognize that waste in our sector requires both company-specific and industry-level solutions. We must engage external stakeholders to improve recycling capability and access; we must work with the retail industry and suppliers to create new solutions for packaging and retail display; and we must engage with our brands, sourcing, and transportation teams to create and implement programs that help us meet our waste-reduction goal.
Looking forward, we will also need to consider approaches to optimize efficiency in online packaging, especially as more consumers use these channels to purchase our products.