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Macy’s increasing its use of LEDs and solar power, will switch to eco-friendly hangers

Cincinnati -- Macy's announced a series of initiatives to become a more sustainable company. The retailer will increase its use of energy-saving LEDs and solar power. It will also switch to eco -friendly hangers, and become the first major department store to pilot the use of self-serve electric vehicle (EV) charging stations

In 2011, Macy’s plans to install about 280,000 LEDs in about 200 stores nationwide. This is in addition to more than 130,000 LEDs installed in 95 Macy’s stores in 2010, cutting energy consumption by up to 73%.

The company will also increase the number of solar power systems hosted on its stores and facilities, starting with the deployment in May of a 3.5-megawatt, high-efficiency solar power system on the roof of its online fulfillment center in Goodyear, Ariz.  Developed in partnership with SunPower, it will be one of the largest rooftop solar power systems in the United States.

By year-end, Macy’s is planning to add new solar power systems to the roofs of nine additional Macy’s stores, as well as to the roof of a distribution center. The company expects to end 2011 with 49 solar power systems hosted on the roofs of its stores, fulfillment and distribution centers.

Starting in the fall, Macy’s plans to use matte black hangers for most apparel merchandise, replacing the clear hangers that have been the industry standard for several decades. According to the company, which uses nearly 300 million hangers, the new hangers can be manufactured using recycled plastic materials, saving on the new petroleum-based resins used to make clear hangers. Macy's start asking its apparel vendors to begin shipping merchandise on black hangers in fall 2011, with the transition expected to be complete in spring 2012.

"Our company has embraced the principles of sustainability, and we continue to take actions that are tangible, measurable and meaningful in reducing our use of scarce resources and improving the efficiency of our business in serving customer needs," said Tom Cole, Macy's chief administrative officer. "We have made significant progress over the past several years, and we continue to move forward with new ideas in 2011 and beyond."

In other green initiatives:

  • In partnership with ECOtality, Macy’s plans to install two electric vehicle charging stations this fall outside each of six Macy's stores in the San Diego area.
  • By the end of 2011, Macy’s will have eliminated the use of all foam packaging (cups, bowls, plates and to-go containers) at its in-store restaurants nationwide. Foam has been replaced by paper or plastic containers that are made from renewable resources and/or are recyclable. The company used more than 2.7 million foam containers as recently as 2009. That number was reduced by about 50% in 2010 and will be further reduced to zero by the end of 2011.
  • The company also announced that it has become a Recyclebank Rewards Partner, allowing customers across America to earn special discounts at Macy's when they increase household recycling, reduce household energy usage and practice green lifestyles.
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