Recycling HIghlights

Through myriad initiatives across Kohl's stores, existing buildings and new projects alike, we actively seek long-term solutions to maximize recycling efforts and minimize landfill contribution.

Materials Recycled

Recycling Numbers in Tons
Waste Type 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Corrugated Cardboard 118,609 105,459 111,485 108,605 126,007 117,331
Construction Debris 15,873 28,457 10,289 3,276 4,887 2,897
Mixed Plastic/Hangers 10,802 8,822 10,090 10,292 10,983 11,715
mixed office papers 428 581 514 138 231 254
Wood Pallets 2,833 2,197 3,818 647 1,701 3,255
Metal 1,414 1,940 1,515 441 735 407
Carpet 500 1,354 486 329 413 142
Bottles & Cans 612 63 6 186 376 29
Electronics 75 10 21 49 140 427
Light Bulbs/Fluorescent Lights 46 306 305 229 212 234
Total Tons Recycled 151,192 149,189 138,565 124,192 145,685 136,691

Dry Waste

In 2010, Kohl's partnered with waste vendors to create a dry-waste program. Dry waste excludes items such as food waste or beverage containers that are not empty. With this program, store teams place bagged trash, paper products, graphics and cardboard into a single compactor.

Read More [+]

The material collected in the compactor is taken to a facility, sorted and appropriately recycled or disposed. Cardboard is the principal component of dry waste and must constitute at least 85% of the volume of the container for the program to be successful. Other items, such as hangers and plastic, are sent to our Distribution Centers to be recycled or repurposed.

Participating store teams recycle 85%-95% of all materials. 106 stores participate in the dry-waste program. We will convert more stores to the program as local facility availability increases; certain city, county and state regulations may prevent some of our stores from program participation.


Cardboard constitutes over 70% of all materials that Kohl's recycles, making it a central item in our waste stream. We emphasize training and educating our Associates about cardboard recycling practices. When done properly, recycling cardboard preserves virgin material and translates into rebates that contribute to our bottom line.

Construction Waste Management

In 2008, as part of the LEED for New Construction volume retail certification program, Kohl's developed a comprehensive Construction Waste Management Plan (CWMP) to be used on each construction project.

Read More [+]

The CWMP provides guidance to general contractors on our expectations, requirements, diversion goals, on-site procedures and training. The flexibility of the CWMP allows the contractors to work within the limits and availability of local recycling and diversion opportunities. A goal of 75% diversion is set for all projects nationwide, although we understand that not all communities have the same waste policies and opportunities to recycle. Some communities have progressive commingled construction waste facilities that accept all waste and divert most materials, while other communities may only have available metal or cardboard recycling. In 2015, this effort diverted nearly 2,900 tons of construction waste from local landfills.


Hangers that are collected by the stores are either reused or their materials are recycled. Excess hangers are accumulated through Kohl's distribution network and shipped to a recycling partner for repackaging. Over 125 million hangers are collected for recycling each year at Kohl's. Many of the collected hangers are sorted, packaged and shipped back to factories overseas for reuse. Those that are not reused are processed into plastic pellets that are used in the production of plastic items.

Electronic Article Surveillance Tags

Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) tags are put on Kohl's garments to reduce inventory shortages. When a garment is sold, the EAS tag is removed at the register and sent to our distribution centers, along with hangers. EAS tags are sent to a facility to be cleaned and repackaged for use on new items.


Kohl's Associates gather plastic from incoming merchandise. Customers are also able to return unwanted plastic bags of any type to our stores. This plastic is sent to our distribution center to be baled. Baled plastic is recycled into pellets or film that is then made into new items.

Recycle if Clean & Dry—Store Drop-off—Plastic—Bags / Film / Wrap—

The types of plastic that can be recycled at Kohl's include plastic bags (shopping bags, plastic cereal liners, bread bags, etc.) and any other bags labeled with #2 or #4. Plastic shipping envelopes and air pillows can also be recycled. Different types of packaging that can be recycled are product wrap (from bath tissue, bottled beverages, etc.), furniture and electronic wrap, and any packaging with the Store Drop-off How2Recycle label. Materials must be clean and dry.

Electronics Recycling

Kohl's has partnered with an electronics recycling company in order to handle our e-waste. In 2015 we recycled over 293,715 pounds of electronics. These items included laptops, desktops, hard drives, printers, scanners and more. With a simple process for equipment to be recycled, we have reduced both cost and waste.