Over the past year, home goods companies ranging from small direct-to-consumer brands like Parachute to major companies such as Ikea and Crate & Barrel have made commitments to improving the circularity of their products. Now Macy’s joins them with a host of sustainability initiatives aimed at improving circularity through the retailer’s value chain.
As part of its Mission Every One social purpose platform, Macy’s has taken steps to improve the circularity of its products, such as joining the nonprofit Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The foundation is focused on accelerating and enabling the growth of a circular economy by providing resources for circular design and connecting players across industries and institutions to facilitate circularity.
Macy’s also joined Fabscrap, a nonprofit in New York City that helps ensure that fabric waste is reused, upcycled, downcycled and recycled responsibly. The company’s private brand team also recently incorporated technology that allows them to scale back samples to decrease textile waste. In 2019, 5 percent of samples were digital and by the end of the 2022 development season, 61 percent of all samples were made virtually.
Making it easier for its products to be reused has also been an important component of Macy’s move toward circularity. The company partnered with Give Back Box to allow customers to download a prepaid shipping label from Macy’s website to send gently used clothing, toys and home goods to be donated for resale and recycling.
The company also offers WorryNoMore protection plans for items such as furniture and jewelry, which can be repaired to extend their use.
The retailer also instituted new policies to reduce packaging waste, including adding auto-boxer and auto-bagger technology that allows Macy’s to create customize packaging to fit odd or oversized items, reducing box volume and waste up to 50 percent.
In 2022, Macy’s began using plastic mailer bags that include 35 percent recycled content, reducing the thickness of the bag by 20 percent, and reducing virgin plastic input by more than 50 percent. Likewise, cardboard used in the company’s fulfillment centers is FSC-certified and made up of 35 percent recycled content. And this spring, the company began sending orders without paper invoices to reduce waste.
“We are committed to promoting a more circular economy across our value chain,” said Keelin Evans, vice president of sustainability at Macy’s, Inc. “Our efforts are focused on providing sustainable and ethically produced brands, products, and services to our customers, while reducing our impact on the environment through operations.”