Minimising our waste
Minimising waste remains a significant challenge for businesses in the Australian retail sector and Kmart is committed to play its part through its ongoing efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Single use plastic shopping bags
Kmart has committed to remove single use plastic shopping bags from all stores nationally by early 2019. This year saw the development of new reusable, entry level plastic bags, made with 80 per cent recycled material, which will be implemented in all states starting with Western Australia and Queensland from 1 July 2018. To encourage customers to change their behaviour and reuse bags when shopping, Kmart is charging 15 cents for medium-sized entry level reusable bags and 30 cents for a larger version. These changes along with instore marketing and team member training aim to reduce the number of plastic shopping bags being issued to customers by 80 per cent within four years.
Kmart has worked closely with its sister company, Target, to undertake a detailed investigation of its waste and recycling systems, processes and infrastructure. This has included detailed waste and infrastructure audits of 50 stores and Distribution Centres. The findings of this investigation will be used to support key recommendations and actions in future waste diversion programs. Ahead of these changes, a review of existing waste and recycling contractors was completed with a number of changes made to service provider contracts to ensure they support increased diversion of waste going to landfill. Additionally, a waste audit and pilot waste diversion program has been undertaken at our corporate head office in Melbourne with key learnings and recommendations expected to be implemented in the following twelve months.
During the year, Kmart met all its regulatory obligations under the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme Product Stewardship Agreement by its membership of an approved co-regulatory arrangement via MRI PSO Pty Ltd. Under this arrangement, Kmart funded the re-collection and recycling of 19,049 kilograms of complying e-waste items including televisions, computers and peripheral devices.
Secondary and tertiary packaging
Kmart increased its focus this year on packaging reduction through its overseas supply chain initiative. This has included a focus on reducing or eliminating all forms of cardboard packaging and replacing it with reusable PVC bags for certain merchandise categories. The initiative was implemented at 110 sites during the year and is now operating in 95 per cent of apparel suppliers. Benefits delivered during the year include a reduction of 10.2 million cartons. Based on results from our pilot, this translates into a 75 per cent reduction in cardboard. Building on this experience, Kmart aims to continue to reduce packaging as it moves into further categories including general merchandise items.
Australian Packaging Covenant and 2025 target
Kmart is a proud member of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO). This year, Kmart used APCO’s newly created Annual Reporting Tool to review progress of Kmart’s packaging programs. Through this process, Kmart has identified a number of opportunities for improvement and has developed an action plan in response to the target set in April 2018 by Australia’s Environment Ministers to make 100 per cent of packaging in Australia reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.