In “closing the loop” and reducing our waste, we’re looking diligently at every part of our process.
One area of opportunity was figuring out a way to recycle the clear plastic bags our apparel items are shipped in into the orange shopping bags we use at Nike stores. So far, in 2018, we have been able to increase the Nike recycled content in our shopping bags to 6 percent, raising the total recycled content in our shopping bags to about 50 percent. While this is a great first step in the use of more recycled content, we will continue to pursue and improve the program, incorporating more recycled materials.
Polyethylene bags—”polybags”—are used for pretty much any kind of apparel transport, an industry practice to keep new apparel clean and dry.
Right now, the Bag to Better program is operating at our largest US apparel distribution center and we are expanding it to all apparel distribution centers in the US. The next step will be to explore global expansion.
In the past, we recycled the polybags, but, like most publicly available recycling, we didn’t know where the bags went or how they were being used. Now, we are taking responsibility for how our polybags waste is used, and we are trying to drive direct value for Nike by incorporating the polybags back into the process of making our retail bags. It’s just one example of how Nike is taking control of our own production processes to drive innovation and efficiency across everything we do.
Getting waste—especially plastic—out of our distribution process is crucial. Current research estimates that plastic takes over 400 years to decompose in the environment . This stat is what pushes us—and helps us push others—to take decisive steps to reduce waste. As we move forward, we will continue to explore new ways to use this recovered material to drive value for Nike and our consumers.