It's the new normal.
As with any good habit, recycling becomes easier the longer you do it. It starts as a goal, a desire to change. For us, success in any company-wide venture depends upon making a cultural shift throughout our stores and offices.
We’re doing this, and it’s working. We’re proud to say that recycling has become a way of life here at Belk.
Our associates have come to expect easily accessible recycling options across all of our operations. As a result, nearly half of our waste is diverted from landfills through recycling. We’re not stopping there.
Our goal is to push that percentage even higher, to 70%, in the next two years. We’ll do it by both expanding current programs and starting some new ones.
New Practices Boost Store Recycling Efforts
We’re scaling up our recycling efforts to a comprehensive program. Currently, we recycle cardboard, pallets, hangers and plastic. Our expanded program will include even more recyclable items, including bottles, cans, fixtures, furniture and store signs.
Belk no longer uses clear hangers (with metal hooks) and instead will require vendors to provide black matte hangers made of recycled plastic materials for all apparel classifications with the exception of infants, toddlers and intimate apparel. This move supports the Voluntary Industry Commerce Solutions (VICS) Association’s initiative to promote the use of environmentally friendly hangers. The black hangers are made with post-consumer waste, use less petroleum and are less costly to produce.
A number of new practices and procedures have been implemented to help Belk track, measure and boost the effectiveness of its cardboard and plastic recycling program. Select stores now apply identification bar codes to bundles of recycled cardboard as they are shipped in trucks returning to the distribution center. Upon receipt at the distribution center, the cardboard is weighed on newly installed scales and the amount recorded.
First, we’re scaling up our recycling efforts to a comprehensive program. Currently, we recycle cardboard, pallets, hangers and plastic. Our expanded program will include even more recyclable items, including bottles, cans, fixtures, furniture and store signs.
In addition, we’re exploring ways to facilitate clothing recycling. We’d like to offer ways for customers to join us in making clothing donations to help needy families. Such efforts enable us to divert waste by increasing our return rate to suppliers. Making a positive contribution to our communities is more than an act of charity. It’s the way we do business.
Our suppliers are already using recycled materials for merchandise labeling, packaging and shipping, right down to the smallest hang tag. We like that idea. Our goal is to build on it by offering our Belk.com customers recycled shipping materials as well. And we are constantly working to reduce the amount of packaging and shipping materials used in our private brand shipments.