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Recycling and Waste

Lowe’s recycling programs strive to increase recycling and minimize waste that goes to landfill.

More In Operations

The recycling market in 2015 was a challenging one. Although our partnership with Call2Recycle allowed us to collect and recycle more than 650,000 pounds of rechargeable batteries in 2015, the recycling industry as a whole experienced widespread consolidation, and some recycling companies closed shop. As a result, Lowe’s renegotiated recycling contracts to manage these rapid industry changes as we work toward our waste and recycling goals. Through this transition in 2015, we increased the number of recycling vendors we partner with and are working to establish reliable recycling data with all our vendors.

In 2015, we continued to gather waste and recycling data for Lowe’s stores in the United States and reconfirmed benchmarks. We are continually evaluating our process to minimize waste to landfill and reduce disposal costs. As a result, we may accelerate or recalibrate our goals in the future to better reflect industry direction and challenges.

By 2020, Lowe’s aims to achieve the following milestones for waste measured against a 2010 baseline: Performance to Date
Reduce tons of waste per net sales by 40 percent from a 2010 baseline Reduced tons of waste per net sales by 12.6 percent from the 2010 baseline (from 6.31 tons/net sales to 5.60 tons/net sales)
Increase tons of waste per haul by 40 percent from a 2010 baseline Our tons of waste per haul performance has remained flat since the 2010 baseline as a result of challenges in removing certain materials (such as Styrofoam) from our waste stream.


Recycling Centers

Recycling centers are located near the customer service desk at every Lowe’s store in the continental United States. We partner with nonprofit organization Call2Recycle and encourage customers to recycle compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), plastic bags, rechargeable batteries and cell phones. In 2015, almost 1,700 of our stores participated in the rechargeable batteries recycling program, the highest participation rate among U.S. national retailers. Since we began the program in 2004, we’ve recycled more than 4.3 million pounds of batteries.

Managing Waste at our Stores and Distribution Centers

Lowe’s is committed to responsibly managing our waste disposal and maximizing recycling. These efforts are centrally coordinated for stores and distribution centers by Lowe’s corporate office and managed on-site by our planned maintenance teams. Our store management teams are incentivized to recycle by rebates based on the volume collected. Additionally, we are placing more emphasis on data analytics to reduce the variance in tons per haul across our stores. In 2015, we focused on increasing our waste audits to better understand our waste stream and to identify the causes of inefficiencies and recycling opportunities.

Recycled Material (tons)*