At CVS Caremark, we use various measures to reduce our waste, repurpose materials and recycle throughout our operations and along our supply chain.
In 2011, we continued to improve our company-wide recycling initiatives in our distribution centers, stores and corporate offices, focusing our efforts on the following:
- Recycling cardboard packaging, corrugate plastic and pallets at every distribution center
- Expanding our in-store recycling initiatives, including a plastic bag recycling program in more than 3,000 locations and expanding plastic bottle recycling to more than 2,000 stores
- Piloting a recycling program for employee break rooms in 200 stores across the country
- Engaging with waste haulers to identify single-source recycling
- Using multiple bailers in each distribution center to compress corrugate
- Putting recycling bins in all workspaces and conference rooms
- Ensuring paper and plastic materials are collected and recycled in our onsite cafeterias
- Recycling stretch wrap film at various facilities
These efforts resulted in 182 tons of plastic stretch film being recycled throughout our stores and distribution centers in 2011, an increase from 178 tons in 2010. Although total volume of cardboard recycling actually decreased in 2011 to 44,000 tons, compared to 45,000 tons in 2010, this was primarily due to the packaging improvements made by vendors that used less cardboard material.
In 2012, we plan to identify ways to realign our entire waste process and are currently engaging with waste haulers to better understand and improve our waste stream.
Promoting Sustainable Packaging
We continually seek opportunities to adopt more sustainable packaging and work directly with our vendors and suppliers to reduce packaging materials. Through packaging and sustainability summits, awareness initiatives and one-on-one meetings with our vendors, we share preferred sustainable packaging styles to influence the packaging of the products we carry. For instance, we recommend that our suppliers minimize or eliminate the inner packaging for the products they deliver to us, and we encourage suppliers to use recycled materials in their packaging whenever possible.
Through collaboration with our vendors and suppliers in 2011, we worked to reduce the packaging and associated waste of 79 products sold in our stores. Included were several over-the-counter products that reduced or eliminated inner packaging, equating to more than 8 million units shipped to us in 2011. Our packaging teams also held summit-style meetings with product category managers to increase their understanding of sustainable packaging advancements.