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Earth Month 2023: Three notable retail sustainability efforts

mail-in electronics recycling
Best Buy is accepting mail-in electronics recycling.

As we observe Earth Month, it’s worth recognizing some of the green initiatives retailers are taking with regard to their businesses.

Every April is Earth Month, a 30-day period of reflecting on and recognizing the importance of the environment. In honor of the occasion, let’s dive into three recent initiatives retailers have taken to promote sustainability in different areas of the enterprise.

Adore Me

Digitally native intimates brand Adore Me is partnering with Carbonfact, provider of a data platform that enables designers to incorporate carbon impact into the design process from the beginning.

As a result, Adore Me can conduct a Dynamic Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) throughout its product mix and identify key levers, from raw material to supplier selection, to reduce carbon emissions from its product life cycle.

The company’s designers and production team can now model products and optimize every step of an item’s life cycle, from raw material selection to material processing techniques, manufacturing, distribution, and use. Adore Me, which was purchased by Victoria’s Secret & Co. in December 2022, intends for this heightened visibility into the split of carbon emissions throughout a product's life cycle to brings it closer to its goal of reducing its scope 3 carbon footprint by 20% in 2025, and achieving net zero carbon status by 2050.

Best Buy

Consumer electronics giant Best Buy, which says it is the nation’s largest retail collector of e-waste, is introducing a new nationwide program that allows consumers to recycle their old tech by mail. It follows the April 2022 launch of a program for picking up consumer electronics for recycling at customers’ homes.

[Read more: Best Buy takes recycling to the customer]

Customers can order a prepaid Best Buy technology recycling box and use it to ship off old electronics items for recycling. Through the service, Best Buy will refurbish and resell items, or recycle them if they cannot be resold.

Best Buy is offering this new service is in addition to its recycling pickup program, as well as the Best Buy Standalone Haul-Away service the retailer offers to customers when they purchase a new TV, major appliance or select fitness equipment, and want to recycle the product they’re replacing.

Southeastern Grocers Inc.

Regional grocery conglomerate Southeastern Grocers Inc. is automating ice manufacturing in a new micro-factory. Southeastern Grocers Inc. (SEG), the parent company of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie, is partnering with Relocalize to pilot ice production in what the retailer says is the world’s first autonomous micro-factory. The retailer intends to eliminate middle-mile logistics for its private label ice brand as a result.

The new ice micro-factory is centrally managed by an AI-powered software platform and utilizes robotics for 100% of production labor. The automated manufacturing process enables the grocer to scale production and reduce waste throughout the full lifecycle of its ice product, lowering economic and environmental impact of ice production and distribution.

Through this partnership, SEG is also introducing a private-label packaged ice product called Party Cubes, which is certified plastic-negative, packaged ice that is produced on-site and on-demand at the new micro-factory. For every one pound of plastic used in packaging Party Cubes, Relocalize will remove and recycle two pounds of ocean plastic.

Additionally, the process produces zero water waste (compared to 50% normally) and reduces trucking carbon dioxide emissions by 90%.

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