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Exploring Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s Stores Recycling Program

POSTED UNDER Recycling & Waste Reduction

258 million tons.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, that’s how much trash Americans generate in a single year, and only 89 million tons – about 34 percent – gets recycled or composted. Finding new ways to recycle (and to reduce what we use in the first place) is an ongoing goal for many of us, and as we celebrate America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, we’re taking a look at some of the ways Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s are recycling in our stores, distribution centers and central offices – as well as how Associates can recycle more on the job. Even our customers are getting in on the act; it’s an exciting time.

Recycling on the Front Lines

Most Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores already recycle cardboard, plastic film, hangers, office paper and gift cards. Now a new program in our New York City area Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores is going a step further, to include recycling bins for customers. “At central locations where there was a trash container, we’ve now placed a recycling container, as well,” said Monica Ng, Macy’s manager of environmental services.

This new effort is in support of a plan set in place by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to achieve a 90 percent reduction in waste and increase sustainability by 2030. “We’ve been recycling behind the scenes for some time, but this is the first time we’ve done it on the sales floor,” said Michael Aronowitz, Bloomingdale’s facilities manager. “It’s a great opportunity to show customers and Associates our commitment to sustainability, and to encourage them to be more sustainable, as well.”

Macy’s Herald Square and three metro New York City Bloomingdale’s locations now have single-stream recycling, meaning all recyclables are comingled in a single bin and separated by the recycling vendor off-site. It helps increase recycling rates by making it easier for individuals and it requires less space for storage containers. “In the past, we’ve never done single-stream recycling in the stores, but now we can,” said Aronowitz.

Keeping Score

Macy’s is also looking at new ways to measure the impact of its recycling efforts, working with solid waste vendor Waste Management on a scorecard for stores across the country. The goal is to provide stores with real-time feedback on how they’re performing in recycling. It will highlight opportunities as well as rank stores among their peers. The scorecard is planned for rollout in 2018.

To help Associates with sustainability at work, Macy’s has developed a sustainability best practices guide for Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s Associates.

It Adds Up Fast

Macy’s recycled more than 75,000 tons of materials in 2016, including nearly 63,000 tons of cardboard. Macy’s cardboard recycling saved 566,000 cubic feet of landfill space and 2.9 million gallons of oil in 2016 – enough to drive more than 1.5 million miles in an average car.

According to Recycle Across America, recycling is the top action we can take to simultaneously improve the environment, the economy, sustainable manufacturing and prevent waste from going into our oceans. And when United States recycling levels reach 75 percent (double what we’re recycling now), it will be the environmental and social equivalent of removing 55 million cars from our roads each year.

Get in the Game

Our Associates will have a huge impact on how successful our recycling program will be. What you do on a day-to-day basis may not seem like much, but with approximately 140,000 Associates, even small things matter.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  1. Before you throw something away, stop and ask yourself, “Can this be recycled?” Office paper, cardboard, plastic film (plastic bags) and hangers should all be recycled. Sometimes things like wood pallets, fixtures ore even products like perfumes can be recycled, so if you’re unsure, talk with your operations manager for proper disposal procedures.
  2. Check out the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s Sustainability Best Practices Guide.
  3. Handle hazardous materials correctly. Items such as fluorescent lamps and batteries should never go in the trash because the chemicals in them can leach into groundwater. If you’re not sure what to do, check with your operations manager.
  4. Spread the word! Share what you know with others so they know what and where they can recycle.

Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day – the perfect time to start recycling or to add something new to your recycling practices. It’s easy, and it matters so much.

Share your story. Tell us what you’re recycling, and your ideas for what else we can do.


You also might like:

10 Easy Tips for Cutting Your Plastics Use

The Best and Brightest – Your Go Green Tips

Recycling Store Fixtures

Celebrating World Water Day


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