Waste Elimination & Reduction
Target seeks to provide product options that both reduce waste and are affordable, and we recognize the need to address both rising costs and environmental impacts of waste throughout our value chain.
As we progress in our Target Forward journey toward innovating to eliminate waste, we will address our complete value chain by working upstream with our suppliers and, improving our own operational waste.
We take several steps to maximize diversion of waste from landfill. To increase the likelihood of recyclability, we optimize our waste reduction methods at the material level, evaluate them for efficacy and then standardize them for implementation across the broader Target enterprise. Our teams work together to improve our packaging designs using fewer components; minimize the volume of trash we produce; and reuse, donate or recycle more materials.
By 2030, Target plans to achieve zero waste1to landfill in U.S. operations.
By 2030, Target intends to divert 90% of waste from landfill through reuse, recycling, donation and reduction strategies.
Foundations we've laid:
In 2022, we diverted 83%2 of operational waste and 59% of construction waste from landfill.
Target received our first official zero waste1 certified location designation from the TRUE Certification (Zero Waste) for our Hawaii Flow Center in 2022.
As established by the Zero Waste International Alliance, zero waste involves the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production; consumption; and reuse and recovery of products, packaging and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water or air that threaten the environment or human health. The threshold to be considered “zero waste,” which Target adheres to, is normally set at a minimum of 90% diversion rate.
We endeavor to make recycling simpler and more convenient for our guests with select take-back programs. We have held twice-yearly car seat trade-in events since 2016.
Our suppliers play an integral role in helping Target achieve our waste reduction, recycling and reuse program goals. This effort begins during the onboarding process of new suppliers and continues throughout our engagement with additional training to confirm Target’s expectations are understood and met. We leverage a broad network of suppliers to optimize the reuse, recycling, donation and composting streams to continue to increase diversion capabilities on an annual basis.
As a step in achieving our overarching Zero Waste1 goal, Target is working to have 50% of owned brand apparel, footwear, home and hardlines suppliers by spend achieve zero manufacturing waste to landfill (ZMWL) by 2025.
Work toward our ambition for key suppliers to achieve this goal is already underway in owned brand footwear. In 2019 and 2020, we co-created the Shoe Waste Factory program with the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America to drive continuous improvement in establishing waste management systems and divert waste from landfill. We will continue to work with participating factories to support their ongoing success, look to add additional factories to the program in the future and explore ways to use the footwear model to reduce waste across other owned brand categories.
We are also investing in Accelerating Circularity U.S. trials, which aim to incorporate post-consumer recycled textiles into new garments. By investing in Accelerating Circularity, we have been able to gain insights into the current gaps in the collection, sortation and preprocessing of textile waste and the innovation needed to spin recycled fibers into yarn.
We will continue to make every effort and drive collaboration in the industry to build a zero-waste supply chain, by:
Partnering with industry peers and associations to scale up our zero manufacturing waste to landfill program.
Developing best practices to reach zero waste by category, and promote industry adoption.
Elevating awareness of zero waste management in the supply chain by providing training on zero waste strategies and procedures.
Increasing waste data transparency and traceable rate.
Driving demand for recycling and reuse materials and services.
We're designing new ways to make our business and supply chain more sustainable from beginning to end, and that includes reducing waste across our operations. When we can’t eliminate waste, we try to divert it from landfill. Our landfill diversion programs span across our construction and operational waste, and in 2022, 83%2 of operational waste and 59% of construction waste was diverted from retail operations.
In 2022, 83% of operational waste and 59% of construction waste was diverted from retail operations.
To further contribute to our Zero Waste1 goal, Target plans to reduce operational food waste by 50% by 2025 from a 2017 baseline year. Our efforts to achieve this goal take many forms, including improved food forecasting, recycling and composting, establishing a food waste footprint and food donation programs. Organics recycling or composting programs are currently available at 1,513 of our facilities (across stores, headquarters and supply chain facilities). In 2022, we donated 124.5 million pounds of food, which is equivalent to 87.7 million meals.
Events and marketing
We apply sustainability principles to various guest-facing events and internal team meetings through the creation of bespoke plans. Vendors must adhere to sustainability guidelines outlined in our Standards of Vendor Engagement, with Target assigning resources and on-site experts to support them.
Since 2020, we have printed display signs in-store, allowing us to create only what we need and reducing waste. We have replaced most landfill-only foam core with recycled, recyclable corrugate and are now reviewing other plastic types, reducing virgin plastic use and ensuring what we do use can be recycled in-store or in partnership with the Waste Minimization team. Until 2021, our holiday containment bins were corrugate with a plastic front. Following a 2022 redesign, these bins are now 100% corrugate, eliminating the use of more than 61,700 lbs of plastic and making them compatible with in-store recycling processes. Additionally, the switch has resulted in a 25% materials cost saving.
Enhancements to our Rubix project management software have increased our ability to divert waste from landfill by improving the information we have on the materials we use. Signs and hardware made with non-sustainable materials can be eliminated or modified based on this information.
Since 2010, we have offered front-of-store recycling kiosks that give guests an easy way to recycle cans, glass, plastic bottles, plastic bags, MP3 players, ink cartridges and cell phones right in their local store. The goal of the program is to extend our company recycling efforts, and so far, the program has kept thousands of tons of recycled materials out of landfills.
Car Seat Trade-In Program
Target’s Car Seat Trade-in Event provides you an opportunity to get rid of your unwanted car seats in exchange for a 20% off coupon good towards a new car seat, car seat base, travel system or stroller, or select baby home gear. It’s one way we’re working together to achieve our Target Forward goal of zero waste to landfill in U.S. operations by 2030.
Materials from the old car seats are recycled by Target’s partner, Waste Management, to create new products such as pallets and plastic buckets, and construction materials such as steel beams and carpet padding.
Keep an eye on this page for information about our next trade-in event in 2024.
1 The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of products, packaging and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water or air that threaten the environment or human health, as established by the Zero Waste International Alliance. The threshold to be considered “Zero Waste” is normally set at a minimum of 90% diversion rate.
2 Waste diverted from landfill was inflated due to larger than expected inventory positions in FY22.