Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Report 2015 Sears Holdings Corporation

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In an effort to promote environmental sustainability and conservation, Sears Holdings recycles a variety of materials used throughout our operations. In partnership with our vendors, we have implemented multiple recycling programs for materials such as cardboard, plastic, tires and more. We believe that through such recycling programs, we reduce our environmental impact and encourage our associates and members to do the same.

In 2015, we laid the groundwork to develop material management goals. We began by mapping our complex waste streams and real estate portfolio in order to define the project's scope. We then worked across internal business units and external vendors to aggregate 2015 waste and recycling data into a central repository. In doing so, we were able to establish a 2015 baseline diversion rate of 68 percent. And we are proud to announce that we have committed to a diversion goal of:

 


75%

waste-from-landfill

by 2020

 

In addition to this goal, we hope to expand our diversion program to include more robust donation and liquidation policies, and to work across the value chain to reduce materials in our products and packaging. In 2016, we will pursue opportunities to reduce the amount of paper and fiber used in our top 20 apparel and footwear vendors' packaging.  

In 2016, it is our goal to develop SHC's first Waste Council - a venue for internal stakeholders to gather and discuss ways in which we can meet our materials management goals and drive profitability and efficiency through our waste streams. We will use the council to explore the life cycle of the materials that end up in our waste and recycling streams, and look for more ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

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Our Facilities
Through the use of facility scorecards, associate training and waste audits, our associates and vendors ensure that Sears Holdings is recycling and managing our waste responsibly at our stores and distribution centers.

Cardboard
As the primary contributor to our organization’s recycling stream, cardboard made up approximately 65 percent of Sears Holdings’ recycled materials in 2015. Our associates work diligently to collect, bale and prepare corrugated cardboard for pickup, according to our recycling processes. It is through these processes that we are able to reduce operational costs and meet our sustainability objectives. In 2015, Sears Holdings recycled more than 152,000 tons of corrugated cardboard and paper.*


Plastics
Plastics contribute to an estimated 13 percent of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream due to their widespread use in items such as appliances, consumer packaged goods and medical devices. At Sears Holdings, we strive to develop solutions for proper end-of-life management for the plastics that end up in our store and facility waste streams. In 2015, Sears Holdings recycled 3,469 tons of mixed plastics.*

In 2015, we continued to expand our efforts in reducing our in-store use of paper. Our Home Appliance, Footwear and Sporting Goods departments transitioned more than 300 stores from paper signs to digital. Through this transition, more than 3.6 million signs were replaced with digital signs, allowing us to greatly reduce the amount of paper and toner we use in store.
Sears Auto Centers

Sears Auto Centers play a significant role in increasing our diversion rate through environmentally responsible practices, such as battery and tire recycling, anti-freeze recovery and motor oil collection.

Batteries
In 2015, Sears Auto Centers recycled 19,444 tons of lead acid batteries. As an incentive, members and customers who bring in an automotive, lawn and garden, marine or power sport battery to be recycled receive a $5 award card to be used for a future purchase. Through their closed-loop battery recycling program, Sears Auto Centers are able to recycle more than 100 percent of the battery’s components and reclaim 97 percent for use in new battery products, with the remainder recycled for other uses.

Motor Oil
In 2015, we recycled 9,559 tons of used motor oil and oil filters. Additionally, we recycle oily water in our facilities using on-site separators in an effort to keep the soil, streams, rivers and groundwater clean in the communities in which we operate. As we continue to conserve oil, we reduce the need to extract new oil as it can be recycled without diminishing quality.

Tires
For over 30 years, Sears Auto Centers have been a leader in tire recycling and disposal. In 2015, more than 23,000 tons of tires were recycled through our enterprise recycling partnerships. The recycled material is given a second life as products such as crumb rubber, mulch and tire-derived fuel.

Antifreeze
We use a closed-loop antifreeze recycling system in all of our Sears Auto Center locations across the U.S. The antifreeze recycling system sells, uses, recycles and then reuses 100 percent of the product across the Sears Auto Center portfolio. In 2015, we recycled 884 tons of antifreeze.
Our Customers & Members
In addition to recycling our own operational waste, we continue to look for ways to make recycling easier for our members and customers.

Ink Cartridge Recycling
Nearly all of our Kmart stores offer ink cartridge recycling to our customers and members. In 2015, through a partnership between Sears Holdings and Clover Technologies, our customers and members were able to recycle more than 5,300 ink cartridges. 

In-Home Television Delivery & Recycling
Our delivery team offers a convenient TV recycling program for customers requesting in-home service.  In 2015, we recycled more than 5,000 TVs for our customers and members.


Cell Phone & Battery Recycling
In partnership with Call2Recycle – North America’s first and largest battery stewardship program - we collected 69,395 pounds of customer and member batteries and cell phones for recycling in 2015.

Appliances
In 2007, Sears became the first broad line retailer to join the EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal program, and we have proudly continued this partnership. Through the RAD partnership, Sears delivers a “WOW” member experience to our customers by hauling away and responsibly discarding their old refrigerators, freezers, air conditioner units, and dehumidifiers when they purchase new, energy-efficient products. This means that Sears recovers and properly disposes of the ozone-depleting chemicals from the discarded appliances, reducing CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases.

In 2015, Sears processed and responsibly disposed of more than 253,000 refrigerators, freezers, AC units and dehumidifiers, resulting in avoided greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 442,000 metric tons CO2 equivalent.**

*Due to the nature of our reporting, a portion of this data may include materials from Sears Hometown and Outlet locations, licensed businesses and lessees.
**At the time of publication of the Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability Report, the EPA had not yet reviewed 2015 RAD data.