Costco makes new commitments to reduce plastic use

Media Contacts

BOSTON – Costco Wholesale has committed to increasing its transparency about its plastic use and developing a 5-year action plan to reduce the amount of plastic it uses. Growing amounts of data suggest that plastics and microplastics pose significant threats to public health and our environment. 

“Consumers across the country are ready to move beyond plastic, but it’s nearly impossible to avoid unless the stores we shop at hold the same values,” said MASSPIRG’s Executive Director Janet Domenitz. “We’re happy to see Costco, one of the largest retailers in the world, taking steps to increase the transparency of their plastic use and developing a plastic action plan. Now, Costco should set strong reduction goals with an ambitious timeline to help lead the industry forward.”

Costco has committed to releasing data on the total plastic footprint– broken down by type of plastic —  of its in-house brand, Kirkland Signature by July 2024. The big box retailer also has committed to disclosing the percentage of recycled content used in its plastic packaging by that same date. Additionally, in December 2024, the company will release a 5-year plastic “action plan” that will outline the steps the company will take to reduce plastic in its Kirkland Signature Packaging. 

“Costco’s recent commitments are a good step forward, but we hope this is just the beginning,” said Celeste Meiffren-Swango, zero waste program director with Environment America. “In the face of a plastic pollution crisis that’s growing more dire by the day and putting hundreds of species of wildlife in harm’s way, retailers such as Costco have a responsibility to reduce the use of wasteful single-use plastic wherever and however they can.”

Costco’s commitments come after pressure from both shareholders and the general public. Costco struck this deal with Green Century Capital Management, a leading responsible investment firm that owns shares in the company. And on Sept. 29, PIRG, Environment America and Environmental Action delivered 82,447 online petition signatures from people across the country urging Costco to reduce their use of single-use plastic. All of the aforementioned groups are part of The Public Interest Network.