Macy’s embraces automation and digitization to reduce waste

Macy’s Inc. is turning to technology and best practices to achieve a circular supply chain.

The department store retailer, who in March 2022 said he $5 billion direct of its spend, through 2025, to partners, products, people and programs that are helping to create “a more equitable and sustainable future through its new social purpose platform ‘Mission Every One’,” launches initiatives to reduce, reuse and recycle.

To reduce waste, Macy’s private label division is deploying technology that helps reduce the number of physical samples required from vendors, without affecting fit, color, and other design considerations.

In 2019, 5% of samples were digital; and by the end of the 2022 development season, 61% of all samples were completed virtually. According to Macy’s, this digital shift is actively keeping products that otherwise would not have been used in landfills.

Additionally, the retailer is by deploying auto-boxer and auto-bagger technology allowing it to create unique packaging suitable for unusual or oversized items, and reduce box volume and waste by up to 50%. And as of spring 2022, most packages for Macy’s digital orders fulfilled through the company’s fulfillment centers do not include printed invoices, as customers can reference order information in their online accounts and receipts. by email.

Thanks to its partnership with Give Back Box, a a business that sends donations to local charities, where customers can donate used clothing, shoes, jewelry or small household items by mail for free, Macy’s customers download a prepaid shipping label from the Macy’s website and send in items to donate for resale and recycling.

[Read more: Macy’s joins multiple sustainability efforts]

Macy’s has also adopted best practices to reduce packaging, including standardizing shipping carton sizes and minimizing packaging materials. In 2022, virgin plastic shipping bags were modified to include 35% recycled content, reducing bag thickness by 20%.

As a result, the input of virgin plastic has been reduced by more than 50%.All paperboard used by Macy’s fulfillment centers is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and contains 35% recycled content.

Additionally, Macy’s and its Bloomingdale’s banner offer accessible care instructions and programs to help customers extend product life and reduce water and electricity consumption. For products such as jewelry, watches, and furniture, repair services are available through WorryNoMore protection plans and a partnership with My Jewelry Repair.

Moreover, as part of its 2025 objective of to recycle materials as possible, Macy’s Beauty Division is running a pilot program to minimize environmental impact by shipping obsolete materials to a third party for recycling, rather than throwing them away in stores. Macy’s also launched a program to use RFID technology to track in-store carton recycling participation and weight as part of its goal to increase store recycling rates to 80% by 2025.

Earlier in 2022, Macy’s became part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation community, focused on accelerating and transitioning to a global circular economy and FABSCRAP, a nonprofit organization in New York that helps ensure that fabric waste.

“As a leading omnichannel retailer, we understand the role we play in creating a more equitable and sustainable future for everyone. We are committed to driving a more circular economy throughout our value chain,” said Keelin Evans, vice president of sustainability at Macy’s, Inc. “Our efforts are focused on delivering brands, products and sustainable and ethical services to our customers, while reducing our impact on the environment through our operations. We will achieve this through our socially oriented wayfinding platform, Mission Every One, and company-wide collaboration with partners, designers, suppliers, logistics partners, contractors, colleagues and customers.

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