As part of Sam’s Club’s commitment to becoming a regenerative company, they have launched self-service recycling units in the Northwest Arkansas area. With a goal to launch 30 or more this year, they are aiming to make recycling more accessible to communities.  Becoming a regenerative company means that they will have a lasting, net positive impact on people and the planet through products, services and business practices. Through this new self-service recycling program, communities will be able to drop off materials from eight different waste streams, including paper boxes, PET thermoforms, pet food bags and more. Sam’s Club saw the opportunity to expand their recycling efforts in this space and are excited to launch this program.

By scanning a QR code on recycling units, individuals will be able to open the unit and conveniently deposit recyclable items into separate waste streams. Collected waste will be transported to facilities for recycling or returned to brand sponsors for use in circularity initiatives. In a prior pilot conducted in El Paso, Texas, Sam’s Club diverted an estimated 200,000 pieces of loose packaging from the landfill or incineration. This year the goal is to divert 150 tons of recyclable materials. Sam’s Club aspires to use recycled PET thermoforms in the creation of new packaging, thus creating an example of a circular economy. PET thermoforms, or the plastic clamshells baked goods are packaged in, are only recycled at around a nine percent rate because they’re not widely accepted across North America.

“As part of our company’s commitment to regeneration, expanding recycling is essential for us. Over the past few years, we have partnered with various stakeholders to test different programs and waste streams for collection, with our prior El Paso recycling takeback pilot being among the first of its kind offered by a retailer,” said Maggie Chiang, Sam’s Club’s Director of Initiatives and Implementation. “We expect this to serve as a significant milestone in our journey as we continue to look for additional opportunities to expand and accelerate our recycling efforts and reduce packaging and waste.”

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