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PVH Corp. Becomes First Apparel Company to Join Recycling Label Initiative

How2Recycle is a Charlottesville, Virginia-based organization dedicated to working with businesses to create more readily understandable recycling labels for packaging—its newest pledge is PVH Corp.

PVH Corp. announced its plans to add How2Recycle-approved labeling to its apparel packaging last week and will be the first apparel company to join the sustainability initiative. It will start the project by adding a specialized recycling label to its Calvin Klein underwear products.

As the world looks to reduce waste, How2Recycle labels help take the guesswork out of recycling for consumers, where even the most well-intentioned recycler can be duped into aspirational or incorrect practices. Stated clearly on How2Recycle labels is the basic construction of the packaging in question, along with helpful instructions like “Empty Before Recycling” or “Widely Recycled” as opposed to “Check Locally.”

“PVH is blazing the trail by being the first company in the apparel space to commit to featuring accurate, consistent recycling labels on their packaging,” Caroline Cox, project manager for How2Recycle said. “The reach of their iconic brands will empower a new sector of consumers to recycle more, and more accurately. We are elated to welcome PVH to How2Recycle and hope that their leadership will inspire other apparel companies to join in.”

“The label will first launch on Calvin Klein underwear packaging later this year, and then will be scaled to other underwear packaging later this year and into next,” a representative from GreenBlue, How2Recycle’s parent company, told Sourcing Journal. “PVH hasn’t shared any more specifics about which products it will label next. Every company takes a different approach to membership, some apply the label as packaging comes up for a design refresh, others label all products immediately.”

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PVH has been very open about sustainability and its efforts to reduce packaging waste began in 2016 with a vision to reduce the waste it sent to landfills directly to zero. Since then, PVH has saved roughly 2,600 trees and now uses 57 percent less water in its polyethylene packaging. By reworking its packaging practices, it has now swapped 825 tons of unrecyclable packaging with recyclable materials, according to the most recent data on its website.

Two North American PVH distribution centers put a recycling plan in place in 2017 that saw more than 100,000 pounds of hangers diverted from landfills and recycled.

To complement its plan with How2Recycle, PVH also directed its neckwear team to reduce the hangtags on its apparel by 17 percent and its Heritage Brands group printed all of its 2018 hangtags on sustainably sourced paper.

“As a global apparel company, we recognize that we have a responsibility to reduce waste, and one key way to do so is by minimizing our packaging and making it recyclable,” said Marissa Pagnani-McGowan, group vice president of corporate responsibility at PVH Corp. said about the project in a statement. “How2Recycle labels will make it easier for our consumers to understand how to discard unwanted items in the most sustainable way possible.”

PVH Corp. will join numerous major companies from other fields that also use How2Recycle labeling including Walmart, Amazon, Disney, Target and Costco.