Beyond Plastic

Costco makes new commitments to reduce plastic use

Big box retailer commits to action plan on plastic packaging.

Staff | TPIN

A trip to Costco often sends you home with a frustrating mountain of unnecessary packaging alongside whatever you actually need.

But not for long. 

PIRG, Environment America and Environmental Action together delivered more than 82,400 petitions urging Costco to cut back on wasteful packaging — and the company is listening.

Costco has recently committed to increasing its transparency about its plastic use and developing an 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.”

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